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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk to speak at IU Hamilton Lugar School conference

Mar 25, 2024

Oleksandra Matviichuk Oleksandra Matviichuk, human rights lawyer and 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureateThe Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies will host the ninth annual America’s Role in the World foreign policy conference April 4-5, 2024. The event convenes diplomats, journalists, and leading scholars to discuss key topics in global affairs, including urgent issues facing the next U.S. Presidential administration, AI governance, Indiana’s global economic ties, and more.

Oleksandra Matviichuk, human rights lawyer and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, will be recognized at the event with the Global Voices for Change award for her leadership of the Centre for Civil Liberties, a human rights organization based in Kyiv. In response to the full-scale war, Matviichuk co-founded the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative, documenting war crimes across Ukraine. In 2022, she earned the prestigious Right Livelihood Award and was named one of the Financial Times’ 25 Most Influential Women, while the Centre for Civil Liberties received the Nobel Peace Prize under her leadership. Remarks by Matviichuk will be followed by a moderated conversation with Matthew Kaminski, Editor at Large, Politico.

Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Dean John Ciorciari (Photo by James Brosher/Indiana University) Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Dean John D. Ciorciari (Photo by James Brosher/Indiana University)“It is an honor to recognize Matviichuk’s work defending human rights in Ukraine and nations throughout the OSCE,” said Hamilton Lugar School Dean John Ciorciari. “Her work through the Centre for Civil Liberties, Euromaidan SOS, and her extensive documentation of war crimes set a strong example of the leadership required to uphold freedom and democracy.”

The conference will feature six other panel discussions on key global affairs topics.

The event opens with a panel discussion on “The Importance of Area Studies,” featuring faculty and university leadership from across the country. As politics becomes more polarized and the world is increasingly more closed to research, the panel will discuss the ways in which investigating, teaching, and organizing area studies as a discipline and a curriculum must change. The panel is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Global Change, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, and the Robert F. Byrnes Russian and East European Institute. 

“The President’s Inbox” panel discussion, moderated by Politico Editor at Large, Matthew Kaminski, will cover challenges facing the United States in the next four years. The conversation will include perspectives from former U.S. Ambassadors Lee A. Feinstein and David McKean, Georgetown Law and Wilson Center experts Rosa Brooks and Merissa Khurma, and National Security Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Michael Kuiken.

“The first ARW panel on the president’s inbox took place in 2016. Since then the risk of conflict has grown into the reality of two hot wars and heightened risk of a third,” said Amb. Lee Feinstein, Hamilton Lugar School founding dean. “Global disarray is matched by polarization at home, which further impairs the ability to build support for a principled and effective foreign policy — the hallmarks of our school’s namesakes, Rep. Lee Hamilton and the late Sen. Richard Lugar.”

Isak Nti Asare, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Isak Nti Asare, Co-Director of Indiana University's Cybersecurity and Global Policy program, Hamilton Lugar School Assistant Dean for Undergraduate AffairsIsak Nti Asare, Co-Director of Indiana University’s Cybersecurity and Global Policy program, will moderate a panel on “AI Governance,” which will address challenges in matching AI’s capabilities with society’s values, which has been termed “The Alignment Problem.” Discussion will include perspectives from AI innovators, government, and the global digital economy.

“In the rapidly evolving landscape of global AI governance, the United States plays a pivotal role, championing equitable and ethical AI while fostering international collaboration,” said Asare. “I look forward to discussing emerging collaborative efforts that aim to harness AI’s potential while mitigating its risks and reflecting on a shared commitment to creating a more inclusive and safe digital future.”

The panel, “Understanding the African Sahel: Past, Present, and Future,” co-sponsored by the African Studies Program, will examine critical questions about the current situation in the region. In recent years, the nations of the African Sahel and the French-speaking African nations have taken steps to prepare for changes in their relations with the world, including resource management, leadership changes, and membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).

Nana Amoah-Ramey, Assistant Professor, African Studies Program Nana Amoah-Ramey, Assistant Professor, African Studies ProgramNana Amoah-Ramey, Assistant Professor of African Studies, will moderate the panel. Amoah-Ramey says there is a much-needed discussion of topics that affect the present instabilities in the Sahel, including resource management, youth migration, subregional organizations, colonial currency regimes, and democracy.

“The legacy of colonialism still significantly impacts resource management, economic policies, and political systems in the African Sahel and Francophone Africa,” said Amoah-Ramey. “However, emerging narratives of resilience, regional cooperation, and innovative governance challenge traditional perceptions and offer a unique model to understand the interplay of history, culture, and development in post-colonial contexts. This panel argues that Francophone African nations and the African Sahel are not merely passive recipients of global influences but proactive creators of an inclusive future that contributes to scholarly and policy-oriented conversations.”

The panel “Economic Fragility, International Lenders, and Negotiating Debt Restructuring for Highly Indebted Countries” will address challenges of negotiating debt relief for developing countries, including how China’s prominent role as lender has complicated debt restructuring agreements. The panel, featuring experts from the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations, AidData, and Yinka Adegoke, editor of Semafor Africa, is sponsored by the Randall L. and Deborah F. Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development.

The conference will also localize the global conversation with the Indiana and the World panel, moderated by Blair Milo, Founding Director of the Sagamore Institute Center for Talent & Opportunity. Panelists, including Vanessa Sinders, President and CEO, Indiana Chamber of Commerce; David Rosenberg, Secretary of Commerce, State of Indiana; Tyler O. Moore, Mayor, City of Kokomo; and John Fernandez, Former Mayor, City of Bloomington, will discuss trends in foreign investment and international markets. The panel is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Global Change.

The America’s Role in the World conference is a student-centered event, offering students the unique opportunity to engage with government officials, leading scholars and innovators, and diplomats. Students have made important career connections at past conferences, and panelists look forward to speaking with students who are well-versed in global affairs, with deep regional knowledge and foreign language skills.

Hamilton Lugar School senior Kendrick Mernitz has attended in the past. This year, she is working together with a team of students to plan pre-conference social events to help students prepare.

“Participating in ARW and its pre-conference events creates an exciting opportunity for students to engage with both peers and a wide range of professionals, delving into critical issues that impact our world today,” said Mernitz. “In organizing these pre-conference activities, we aim to foster a sense of community and encourage professional growth in a dynamic and interactive setting.”

Mernitz is double majoring in Cybersecurity and Global Policy and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. She is most looking forward to connecting with panelists on AI.

“I’m particularly eager to attend all the panels, but I have a special interest in hearing from the experts on the Governing AI panel, as my research is centered in the GenAI arena,” said Mernitz. “Above all, I’m thrilled about the chance to meet and connect with students during these events!”

The two-day conference will be held at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, 355 N. Eagleson Ave., in Shreve Auditorium and will also be livestreamed. The event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is suggested.


Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies

Sarah DeWeese

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