Mershon Center for International Security Studies
January 23, 2018
In This Issue
In the Media
Richard Gunther
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
"Legislature's shot at nonpartisan congressional districts draws partisan fire"
Columbus Dispatch
January 17, 2018
John Mueller
Senior Research Scientist
"Harvard Professor Steven Pinker on Why We Refuse to See the Bright Side, Even Though We Should"
January 4, 2018
Randy Schweller
Professor of Political Science
"Podcast: President Trump's first year in office"
Peter Shane
Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law
"Can Steve Bannon get away with not answering congressional questioning about Russia?"
January 19, 2018
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, part of the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University.
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Mershon Events
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mohammed Dajani
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Mohammed Dajani Mohammed Dajani is professor of political science, and worked as head of libraries and founding director of the American Studies Graduate Program at Al-Quds University (2002-2014). He is author of numerous books in English and Arabic including: Holocaust Human Agony: Is there a way out of violence? (2009), Wasatia: The Spirit of Islam (2009), Jerusalem from the Lens of Wasatia (2010); Dajani Glossary of Islamic Terms (2015). Teaching Moderation and Reconciliation in Midst of Conflict (2015). Dajani made headlines in spring 2014 when he led 27 Palestinian university students to visit Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Krakow to teach them about the Holocaust. His courage and dedication cost the professor his job at al-Quds University and compromised his personal safety. At this event, Dajani will argue that peace between Israeli and Palestinians is attainable. Read more and register at
Monday, January 29, 2018

The United States and East Asia Under President Trump
12:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

David KangDonald Trump's election to the presidency unsettled many areas of American foreign policy, but few more than the nation's relationship with East Asia. The list of serious issues that have emerged from East Asia over the past year is long and diverse: North Korea's nuclear program; the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative; America's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the controversies over the THAAD missile system; questions related to cybersecurity, tariff policy, and human rights; territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas; and much more. This workshop will offer a one-year retrospective on U.S.-East Asian relations, with presentations by David Kang (left), professor of international relations and business at the University of Southern California; Mitchell Lerner, associate professor of history and director of the Institute for Korean Studies at The Ohio State University; James Matray, professor of history at California State University, Chico; Jennifer Miller, assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College; and Meredith Oyen, associate professor of history at University of Baltimore-Maryland County. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Sahar Speaks
An actress performs in "Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan," produced by Palindrome Productions. Image by Manuela Chastelain.

Journalism, outreach and theatre come together to tell unheard stories of Afghan women

The professional worlds of Mershon affiliate Lesley Ferris and her daughter, Amie Ferris-Rotman, rarely collide.

Lesley, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities in the Department of Theatre, is a seasoned artist who has directed more than 50 plays around the world.

Amie, a journalist and 2013 Fellow of Ohio State's Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism, has reported from more than 12 countries for Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and, most recently, Foreign Policy magazine. 

Between 2011 and 2013, she was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan - a career move that eventually led to her mother's production of "Sahar Speaks: Voices of Women from Afghanistan," which debuted in October in London.

The production consisted of three short, back-to-back plays, each based on a news article written by a female Afghan journalist who was mentored through Amie's Sahar Speaks initiative.

"Sahar is a common female name in Afghanistan, translating as 'dawn.' Its meaning here is two-fold: it represents all Afghan women, and also heralds the beginning of a new era, where Afghan female reporters can tell their stories to the world," according to the organization's website.

The program has since trained 22 women, whose stories are now published in outlets such as The Huffington Post and The New York Times. The women have gone on to work for The New York Times, BBC, al Jazeera and more.

Other Events
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Joan Ruff
11:30 a.m., 
Boat House at Confluence Park, 
679 W. Spring St
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

Joan Ruff In June 2017, a comprehensive report released by AARP, The Aging Readiness and Competitiveness Report, examines the preparedness of 12 countries around the world for facing the challenges of growth in populations aged sixty and over. This report focused on four key sectors: 1) Community and Infrastructure, 2) Productive Opportunity, 3) Healthcare and Wellness, and 4) Technological Engagement. On each of these, the report assessed countries as leaders, movers, or laggards; the report cites the United States as a leader on only one of the four sectors (technological engagement). Joan Ruff, J.D., is board chair for AARP. Read more and register
Friday, January 26, 2018

COMPAS Conference
8:45 a.m., 11th Floor, Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall
Sponsored by Center for Ethics and Human Values

COMPAS ReligionWhat role does religion play in the formation and preservation of national identity? What should we do when religious pluralism threatens the integrity of the political community? Are transnational religious commitments compatible with national political ones?  Read more

8:45 - 9 a.m. - Welcoming Remarks

9 - 11:45 a.m. - Sessions 1 and 2: Islam and the liberal state
9 - 10:30 a.m. : Presentations and Moderated Discussion
10:45 - 11:45 a.m.: Audience Q and A

Mustafa Akyol (Freedom Project, Wellesley College)
Zareena Grewal (American Studies and Religious Studies, Yale University)
Shadi Hamid (Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution)

Amna Akbar (Law, Ohio State University)

1:15 - 2:45 p.m. - Session 3: Religion and American national identity

Sam Haselby (Aeon Magazine)
Tisa Wenger (Divinity School, Yale University)

Korie Edwards (Sociology, Ohio State University)
Friday, January 26, 2018

Paul Wilkins
"Veteran Housing Issues"
12:30 p.m., 252 Drinko Hall, 55 N. 12th St.
Sponsored by Moritz College of Law

Paul Wilkins Please join the Moritz College of Law Grassbaugh Veterans Project on for a continuing legal education program on veterans housing issues. Paul Wilkins, chief litigation attorney for The Ohio State University Student Legal Services, will lead a conversation on the benefits and risks of purchasing real property, Veteran's Affairs loans vs. conventional loans vs. Federal Housing Administration loans, and ways to defend or avoid a foreclosure. Wilkins is a graduate of the Moritz College of Law and experienced litigator and appellate advocate. As a former Equal Justice Works Fellow and supervising attorney with Ohio State's former Student Housing Legal Clinic, he draws on his experiences to help student clients with varying legal matters.  Register here
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Naoyuki Agawa
"Japan-U.S. Relations in the Changing World: North Korea, China, and America First"
5 p.m.,  020 Page Hall, 1810 College Road
Sponsored by Institute for Japanese Studies

Naoyuki Agawa Naoyuki Agawa teaches American constitutional law and history as distinguished visiting professor of law at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His books include Understanding America Today through Its Constitution (2017); A History of Constitutional Amendments and Other Changes in America (2016); and  American History through the United States Constitution (2004, 2013, and Yomiuri-Yoshino Sakuzo Award in 2005). At this event, Agawa will survey challenges in relations between the United States and East Asia, and argue that close Japan-U.S. cooperation in the area of security, economy, trade and investment is the key to better cope with these serious challenges, and to benefit the two countries as well as the whole Indo-Pacific region. Read more
Other News
'Origins' looks at battle over Confederate monuments

Origins has published a new piece: " What We Talk About When We Talk About Confederate Monuments" by Sarah E. Gardner.

The great Southern novelist William Faulkner famously wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." And so it was that in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia we seemed to be fighting the Civil War all over again. The battle there, and elsewhere, was over statues and monuments glorifying the heroes of the Confederacy. But as historian Sarah Gardner shows us these monuments, and the fights over them, have less to do with honoring the memory of the dead than with celebrating a society built on racial oppression.

About Origins: Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective is a monthly ad-free magazine that features top scholars on today's most pressing topics. Published by The Ohio State History Department, its authors include National Book Award winners and world-renowned scholars. You can also explore reviews of popular history books on the Origins website as well as the new monthly feature Milestones.
Apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship

The Center for Slavic and East European Studies and the East Asian Studies Center are seeking applications for fellowships for summer term 2018 and academic year 2018-19, and the Center for Latin American Studies and the Middle East Studies Center for Academic Year 2018-19, under the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship program. Fellowships are available for Ohio State graduate and professional school students pursuing a course of study that requires advanced foreign language and area studies training, and select undergraduate students (eligibility varies by center). Applications are due Thursday, February 1, 2018. For more information, visit the FLAS Fellowship website.
Apply for Global Gateway Graduate Student Research Abroad Grant

All graduate students conducting research abroad this summer are encouraged to apply for the Global Gateway Graduate Student Research Abroad Grant.

The grant will fund applicants from a variety of disciplines who plan to conduct research abroad this summer, especially in locations where Ohio State has a Global Gateway office - China, India and Brazil - and where Ohio State hopes to have a more significant presence in the future - Ethiopia and Turkey. Successful applicants will be awarded a grant of up to $1,000 to assist with travel related expenses for research abroad. The application deadline is March 1, 2018.

Funded by the Office of International Affairs, the Graduate School and the Council of Graduate Students, the grant encourages and promotes the professional and academic development of graduate student researchers at Ohio State by providing financial support allowing students to undertake thesis or dissertation research abroad.

For more information about the Global Gateway Grant, contact Liz Koss or visit the Council of Graduate Students website.
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