CMRC Keynote by Simon Weiss (A'24)

by Chris Burke
Nov 20

In November 2021, ALLIES had the distinct pleasure of welcoming Susan L. Woodward as our keynote speaker at the Civil-Military Relations Conference. Dr. Woodward is a professor of political science at the City University of New York with a focus area on international security, failing states, and post-conflict state building. Her talk, titled nation-building in the 21st Century, covered the failures and successes of contemporary state building operations.

Since the year 2000, state-building has been a core part of every administration’s foreign policy agenda, yet none has successfully implemented an effective state-building program. Through Dr. Woodward’s talk, we explored the multiple reasons why this is the case: ill-defined terminology, ineffective aid distribution systems, lack of awareness of donor causes of instability, and many more.

Through this panel, students learned about the nuances of complicated development programs from an expert in the field and discovered first-hand the policy options available to future policymakers in correcting these mistakes. The talk ended with a Q&A discussion section, where audience members fielded questions about the relationships between state-building and war-making, the role of international actors like the UN in these situations, and the political forces that shape ill-advised foreign policy.