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Approximately 100 attendees heard from experts on the challenges that confront North Africa.

Political change and security in North Africa focus of full-day conference

Approximately 100 attendees heard from experts on the challenges that confront North Africa.
April 09, 2013

McDaniel College’s Department of Political Science and International Studies hosted a full-day conference with Washington-based thought leaders on “Political Change and Security in North Africa.”

CNA Strategic Studies, a federally funded research and development center for the Navy and Marine Corps, co-sponsored the conference, which revolved around efforts to revamp U.S. security interests in North Africa.

According to Anouar Boukhars, assistant professor, who helped coordinate the conference, “The countries of North Africa have experienced considerable political and social upheaval over the past two years. At the same time, violent extremist networks and criminal organizations have grown and are expanding their operations throughout the region.”

Eric Thompson, vice president and director at CNA Strategic Studies, Ambassador Janet Sanderson, Anouar Boukhars, assistant professor of Political Science and International Studies at McDaniel College, Christianna Nichols Leahy, chair of Political Science and International Studies at McDaniel College, and Sarah Vogler, program assistant at CNA Strategic Studies
Eric Thompson, vice president and director at CNA Strategic Studies, Ambassador Janet Sanderson, Anouar Boukhars, assistant professor of Political Science and International Studies at McDaniel College, Christianna Nichols Leahy, chair of Political Science and International Studies at McDaniel College, and Sarah Vogler, program assistant at CNA Strategic Studies.The goal of the conference was to examine challenges that confront the states of North Africa, the United States, and the international community, and look at policy options for the future.

Representatives from foreign embassies, the U.S. Department of State and international organizations joined students, faculty and community members for panel discussions on “Responses and Strategies of Regimes and Political Parties,” “Security Threats” and “Prospects for Regional Cooperation.”

Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson, former deputy assistant secretary of state (SAS) for Near East Affairs (2009–2011) delivered the keynote address.

Ambassador Janet Sanderson speaks with McDaniel first-year students Caroline Unger of Park Ridge, Ill., and Cecelia Cellini of Westminster, Md.
Ambassador Janet Sanderson speaks with McDaniel first-year students Caroline Unger of Park Ridge, Ill., and Cecelia Cellini of Westminster, Md.

“If you students want a career where you really can make a difference. If you want a career where you can reinvent yourself every couple of years. Think about the State Department,” she remarked. “It’s a tough job and I spent 34 years in it and I never got to have a tour in Paris or London. But I got to see things happen before they made CNN.”

Other experts who participated in various panels included:

  • Marina Ottaway (Woodrow Wilson Center)
  • Jason Ullner (Office of Maghreb Affairs, U.S. Department of State)
  • Monica Marks (Rhodes Scholar, Tunisia)
  • Fernando Reinares (Real Instituto Elcano, Madrid)
  • Fred Wehrey (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
  • Patrick Worman (Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State)
  • Laurence Ammour (Institute for Political Science in Bordeaux, France)
  • Glynn Torres-Spelliscy (St. Petersburg College & Association of the Bar of the City of New York)
  • Lahcen Achy (Carnegie Middle East Center, Beirut)
  • Leonard Kate Wiehagen (Morocco Desk Officer, U.S. Department of State)
 
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