Thursday, April 24, 2014

SAIS Europe's Journal: Tackling the world's intractable problems

The new edition of SAIS Europe's flagship revue explores the theme of "stalemates". The motif characterizes many of the world's most difficult issues: climate change, civil war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among others.

But as the editor-in-chief of the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs, Jeffrey Wright, points out in his preface to the 154-page volume, the notion of stalemate suggests the possibility of breakthrough. "A SAIS education aims to prepare students of international affairs to help resolve these stalemates," Wright says.

SAIS Europe Director Kenneth Keller notes in his preface that the Journal combines regional expertise and analytical focus, capturing one of the organizing elements of a SAIS education. Below, the Journal's managing editor for Web, Laura Mojonnier, reflects on her experience helping to manage the student-run publication.

As the Journal's managing editor for Web, I have had the pleasure of running the website, which includes a blog where I have been publishing commentaries by fellow SAISers on the most pressing issues of international affairs.

Our writers have focused on everything from blood diamonds to drug wars in Mexico to the efficacy of Chinese communist rule. It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with my classmates and see what they have to say about major world events and critical policy dilemmas. The quality of their arguments has continuously impressed me, and I have learned a lot.
BCJIA editorial team (L to R): Matthew Melino, Alix Davie, Jeffrey Wright, Laura Mojonnier, Kshitij Neelakantan
I particularly remember a post about the connection between ivory poaching and the East African terrorist group al-Shabaab that opened my eyes to the political and economic complexities of that region.

In terms of the print edition, we set a record for submissions this year, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our Editor-in-Chief Jeff Wright in publicizing the deadline for submissions. We consequently had no problem finding excellent articles to publish, both by fellow SAISers and outside contributors.

Editing these longer pieces gave me the chance to engage with writers on an even deeper level, fine-tuning their arguments and tightening their prose to get the articles fit for print.

I have enjoyed helping create a space where we, as students, can display our engagement with these issues. The blog has become a great platform to showcase our ideas.

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