Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Fall 2017 Lecture Series Announced

The Pell Center at Salve Regina University has announced a variety of events for the Fall 2017 semester, with topics ranging from U.S. foreign policy to women in science and technology, and many in between. Tickets to Pell Center events are free and open to the public. Please RSVP in advance for each event on the Pell Center’s Eventbrite page, and call 401-341-2927 or email [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

Please note, most events this fall will take place at the Bazarsky Lecture Hall in the O’Hare Academic Center. The exception is our “Conversation with Former President Xanana Gusmão of Timor-Leste” on September 18, 2017, which will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Young Building.


Great Power Rivalry and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Trump Era

September 13, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Bazarsky Lecture Hall


Dr. Thomas Wright, director of the Center for the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution

Dr. James Goldgeier, Professor of International Relations and served as Dean of the School of International Service at American University

On September 13th, the Pell Center will host Dr. Thomas Wright and Professor James Goldgeier for a conversation on U.S. foreign policy and great power rivalry in the Trump Era. Thomas Wright is the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He is also the author of All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power, published by Yale University Press earlier this year. All Measures Short of War has been described as a “bracing antidote to simplistic thinking about complex policies,” (Publisher’s Weekly) and as an “immensely useful and lucid analysis of the current global balance of power.” (The Financial Times). Dr. Wright will provide an overview of some of the main themes of his book—the revival of great power competition, and the growing challenges to the international liberal order—before giving his assessment of how the Trump Administration has chosen to navigate this difficult geopolitical environment. Professor James Goldgeier, professor of international relations at American University and visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will serve as discussant. Dr. Iskander Rehman, senior fellow for international relations at the Pell Center, will moderate the discussion.


Conversation with Former President Xanana Gusmão of Timor-Leste

September 18, 2017, 11:00 a.m.

Young Building, Pell Center

Senator Claiborne Pell invested unprecedented time and energy into ending the military occupation of tiny Timor Leste, helping pave the way for the birth of Asia’s youngest democracy. Pell galvanized Rhode Island’s Portuguese-speaking communities to join him in pressing for change, even holding a Foreign Relations Committee hearing under the dome of the State House in Providence. All the while, the freedom-fighter Xanana Gusmao of Timor Leste was imprisoned in Indonesia, communicating secretly with the resistance and inspiring his fellow Timorese as “Timor Leste’s Nelson Mandela.” Senator Pell would have been proud to see the Timor Leste of today: a peaceful free, thriving democracy.

In the last two decades, the United States has engaged around the world in trying to seed and support democracies that embrace the international system, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of international disputes — nowhere more successfully than in Timor Leste. The results of other American and international efforts have been decidedly mixed—some proving tremendously costly failures, while others have succeeded with little acclaim.

Today, Timor Leste itself is at a crossroads. The clock is winding down on a novel test of dispute resolution, a first-time effort under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to settle a maritime boundary dispute not through arbitration, but through mediation. The principals in this dispute are the young democracy of Timor-Leste and its much larger neighbor, Australia.
Join former Timorese President Xanana Gusmão for remarks and a candid conversation about the challenges of one of the world’s youngest democracies.


Warrior Women: Science and Tech Edition

Empowering Young Women in National Security

October 5, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Bazarsky Lecture Hall


Dr. Andrea Limbago, Chief Social Scientist, Endgame

Dr. Elizabeth Prescott, Director Curriculum for Science, Technology, and International Affairs, Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

Moderator: Jennifer McArdle, assistant professor in the Department of Administration of Justice and a Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council

Throughout history, cycles of technological innovation have fundamentally altered society, with profound implications for national security. From the rise of artificial intelligence and autonomy, to bioengineering, and the use of cyber and information weapons, new science and technologies change the national security landscape and raise interesting policy dilemmas that the defense and national security community must grapple with.

This second panel discussion in the Warrior Women series seeks to empower young people—particularly women—to pursue careers in national security. This panel discussion focuses specifically on science and technology careers in national security and is meant to appeal to people with traditional science and technology backgrounds, as well as those with classic liberal arts degrees. The two panelists—one a biologist by training and the other a political scientist—will discuss career opportunities in tech and national security available to young people, hurdles women experience in the field, and strategies for career success. The panel will close with a discussion of some cutting-edge tech and national security issues. A question-and-answer session will follow.


The Hacked World Order and Geopolitics of Cyberspace

October 17, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Speaker: Adam Segal, Ph.D., Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies Director, Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program Council on Foreign Relations

For more than 300 years, nation-states dominated international conflict and shaped world order. They used all the instruments they had to make the rules that best served their interests.

Two decades ago, digital technologies started to shake up that long-standing system. In 2012, the US government acknowledged that it had used these technologies to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, and Russia and China conducted massive cyber-espionage operations. Cyberspace became a primary battlefield.

To make matters worse, cyber attackers often hide behind proxies. Many of the latest technologies are now in the hands of big companies who have interests that differ from those in government.  Almost all our critical infrastructure is vulnerable to attack. How can we understand how states, large and small, attack, surveil, influence, steal from and trade with each other in the digital age?


Avoiding a Sea of Fire: Dealing with a Nuclear-Armed North Korea

November 7, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Bazarsky Lecture Hall


Mr. Ankit Panda, Senior Editor at The Diplomat

Dr. Terence Roehrig is Professor of National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Asia-Pacific Studies Group at the U.S. Naval War College

Dr. Iskander Rehman, Senior Fellow for International Relations at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University

In the summer of 2017, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) carried out a series of long-range missile tests. The weapon systems tested appeared to be intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), with the potential to range the continental United States. While North Korea has been a nuclear power for over a decade, this latest evolution is something of a turning point and raises a number of difficult questions. How should the United States, its Northeast Asian allies, and the international community writ large, deal with the growing threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea? Beyond levying additional economic sanctions, are there any non-kinetic means of persuading or compelling the regime in Pyongyang to arrest its nuclear developments? In early August, U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claimed that the U.S. was prepared to wage “preventive war” against North Korea. What might such a grim possibility entail? How might combat operations unfold on the Korean peninsula and what is the state of North Korea’s conventional capabilities? Last but not least, what role might nuclear weapons in the DPRK’s evolving security strategy? How will the maturation of its nuclear deterrent affect its regional behavior?

On November 7th, in an effort to help provide answers to some of these challenging questions, the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy will convene a panel of distinguished experts.


A Comparative Analysis of Left, Right, and Failed Ethnic Nationalism

November 29, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Speaker: Dr. Cedric de Leon, Associate Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

The rise of Donald Trump is just one case of a wider phenomenon. To understand contemporary American politics we must place it in comparative context. This presentation will put Trump’s economic nationalism alongside the rise of the BJP in India, the MAS in Bolivia, and the Reform Party in Canada.

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