Tuesday, 28 August 2012

SAIS Bologna grads tackle tough issues in print

Syria, Kosovo, Mali and the euro zone crisis: recent SAIS Bologna graduates have tackled these thorny and pressing issues in well-known publications this summer before starting their second year of studies in Washington.

Their writing reflects admirable intellectual curiosity, consistent with the breadth and depth of the SAIS curriculum.

Niamh O'Sullivan examines the quandary facing outside powers as they watch fighting rage in Syria. "The dilemma of the Syrian conflict is how much longer the international community can sit by and watch as evidence of the regime's blatant disregard for human rights continues to mount," the 2012 SAIS Bologna graduate writes in a paper published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali.

Niamh O'Sullivan
Applying "Just War theory" to Syria, O'Sullivan concludes bitterly that "the conflict in Syria represents the tragic space between the unacceptable and the impossible."

"It is with heavy heart that I advocate that the international community stay out but that is not to say we should stand idle," she writes, endorsing stepped-up sanctions against the Syrian regime, non-military support for rebel fighters and relief aid to victims.

A 2010 graduate of Trinity College Dublin, O'Sullivan will soon be starting her second year at SAIS in Washington. Her paper -- "The Moral Enigma of an Intervention in Syria: A Just War Analysis" -- was published earlier this month by the Rome-based think tank.

Pasqualina Lepore
Pasqualina Lepore, like O'Sullivan a 2012 graduate of SAIS Bologna, looks at the February 2012 "asterisk agreement" between Serbia and Kosovo that has allowed Pristina to represent itself at regional meetings with the nameplate "Kosovo*".

In a paper also published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Lepore concludes that the agreement has smoothed Kosovo's and Serbia's path towards the European Union but fails to address the key bones of contention between the parties, namely North Kosovo and Pristina's status.

Her paper, entitled "Beyond the Asterisk Agreement", calls on the EU to launch a more comprehensive and ambitious dialogue with Belgrade, Pristina and representatives of North Kosovo.

Lepore received a B.A. from the University of Bologna Forlì in 2009 and a master's in diplomatic and international sciences from the same university two years later before enrolling in SAIS.

Jamie Bouverie looks at the effects that Mali's political crisis is having on Timbuktu -- what he calls "one of the world's most fabled cities."
Jamie Bouverie

"Timbuktu has been gravely and irreversibly affected by Mali's current dual crisis," he writes in "Timbuktu: The End of Tourism?", published by ThinkAfricaPress.

His article concludes that if the Islamist extremist group Ansar Dine retains control of the northern cities, "then Timbuktu will probably wave goodbye to tourism once and for all."

If the Islamist group were evicted by either the Malian army or insurgents, "a slow and difficult recovery may just be possible," the 2011 graduate of Cambridge University writes.

Still, he concludes, "it seems more likely that the Islamists will further assert themselves in northern Mali, making the long term decline of Timbuktu inevitable."

Matthew Melchiorre
Matthew Melchiorre shows scant mercy towards advocates of euro bonds in his article, "Angela Merkel's Bismarckian Euro Diplomacy," published by Forbes.

"Their implementation would signal German support of profligate euro zone governments in perpetuity," he writes.

Pursuing his comparison of the German chancellor with her 19th century counterpart Otto von Bismarck, Melchiorre says, "Just as the Balkan conflict was the bane of Bismarck's careful diplomacy, the inevitability of default in the euro zone periphery is the canary in Merkel's coalmine."

Both Bouverie and Melchiorre will be joining O'Sullivan and Lepore at SAIS DC this fall.

Nelson Graves