Final descriptions Spring 10 by B9mMB3if

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									                           WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL
                      POLICY TASK FORCES AND CONFERENCES
                                   SPRING 2010


                       WWS 402a - Afghanistan: Is There a Way Out?
                                      Task Force
                             ROB, Tuesday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                      Robert Finn

The war in Afghanistan is going into its eighth year and there is no end in sight. Majority public
opinion in the United States and other countries no longer supports the war, as declining security
and a tainted government in Afghanistan present problems rather than solutions. Pakistan next
door seems also to be threatened by fundamentalist forces. The counter-insurgency plan raises
both pragmatic and logistical dilemmas that raise strong differences of opinion both within the
government and among the allies. The unbalanced nature of the international commitment to
Afghanistan is another problematic element, as is the fact that Afghanistan remains among the
poorest nations despite recent development efforts. It is also one of the most corrupt. Should the
international commitment continue? If not, is there an acceptable way out?

This task force will investigate and examine the advantages and disadvantages of current and
future policy agendas from many differing points of view and try to find ways to achieve an end
to the conflict and the disengagement of foreign forces. The seminar will deal with troop
movements and public diplomacy, underlying historical relations and virtual communication
realities. The task force report will be in the form of recommendations to principal policymakers
in Washington or at the United Nations.

Robert Finn served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in more than 20 years, from
March 2002 until August 2003. Previous to that, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan from
1998 to 2001. His other diplomatic postings include Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Turkey; Lahore,
Pakistan; and Zagreb, Croatia. He opened the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan in 1992.


               WWS 402b - U.S. Nuclear Weapon Policies in the 21st Century
                                      Conference
                             ROB, Monday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                   Harold Feiveson

The period 2009-2010 promises to be a watershed in the development of nuclear weapon policies
in the U.S. and worldwide. By the end of 2009, it is likely that the U.S. and Russia will have
concluded a first-phase arms control agreement to follow the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty (START), which expires in December. The second phase will be the subject of intense
negotiation during the spring and summer of 2010, and will involve several key issues: the place
of missile defenses, the expansion of NATO into Central and Eastern Europe, further and much
more drastic cuts in strategic nuclear weapons, and the inclusion of non-strategic nuclear
weapons.
Along with the bilateral U.S.-Russian negotiations, there will also be discussion of initiatives
affecting all the current (and aspiring) nuclear weapon states. These will include the fate of the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban (CTBT), negotiations on a cutoff of missile material
production for nuclear weapons, new and more draconian nonproliferation measures and, above
all, whether there are practical steps that can now be taken to move the world toward complete
nuclear disarmament. This goal has been endorsed by President Obama and Russia’s
President Medvedev, among others.

Conference recommendations will be in the form of recommendations to the U.S. task force
responsible for negotiating the second phase of the START effort and perhaps to the Global Zero
forum, which is coordinating a global effort to promote the disarmament agenda.

Harold Feiveson is a member and former Co-Director of the Program on Science and Global Security
in the Woodrow Wilson School. He is the Editor and one of the founders of the international journal,
Science and Global Security.

                 WWS 402c- Health Care Reform and Medicaid Expansion
                                     Task Force
                            ROB, Monday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                            Stephen Somers/James Verdier

The Obama Administration and the Congress have worked throughout 2009 to reform the U.S.
health care system - a system that spends over $2.6 trillion a year (nearly 18 percent of the
nation’s economy), but still leaves more than 46 million people uninsured. Even without reform,
in 2010 Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will provide health
care coverage to nearly 60 million lower-income children and families, as well as people with
disabilities and the elderly, at a cost of well over $430 billion in federal and state expenditures.
With reform, Medicaid could become responsible for an additional 14-20 million Americans
from the ranks of the currently uninsured, creating huge implementation challenges for its federal
and state administrators.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicaid and
CHIP, will be responsible for many of the next steps in health care reform. The task force will
make recommendations to the Center for Medicaid and State Operations in CMS on how best to
deal with the challenges states and the federal government will be facing in the next several
years.

Stephen Somers is present of the Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. in Princeton. He
previously worked at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and was a professional staff
member in the U.S. Senate and at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

James Verdier is a senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. in Washington. He
previously served as Indiana state Medicaid director, worked at the Congressional Budget
Office, and served as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Congress.
             WWS 402e - National Education Standards and Revisions to NCLB
                                      Task Force
                             ROB, Thursday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                   Thomas Corcoran

The No Child Left Behind law was considered to be breakthrough bipartisan legislation when it
was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002. It dramatically altered the federal role in education.
Although the law was controversial among educators, it was considered a great victory both by
liberals concerned with children traditionally poorly served by public education and by
conservatives who wanted stronger accountability for results. The law aimed to raise
achievement and close achievement gaps by holding schools accountable for reaching annual
test-score targets for all of the various groups of students they served. It ambitiously declared
that all students must reach proficiency by 2014, and based the annual school targets on this goal.
Many held great hope for this new federal initiative.

Seven years later, as Congress considers re-authorization of the law, the public discussions have
a decidedly different tone. Both Republicans and Democrats are calling for changes; some want
to roll back the federal role, others want to write a new law from scratch, and some, perhaps the
majority, want to make major revisions to NCLB. At the same time, the National Governors
Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers have taken the lead in developing
voluntary national standards for public education and 46 states have agreed to adopt them. The
new federal administration is offering grants to consortia of states to develop new assessments
based on these standards. It is estimated that it will take 4-5 years for these new policies to take
effect.

What should Congress do about National Standards and about revisions to NCLB? The task
force will examine the relevant evidence and frame recommendations to a national education
organization likely to be in the center of Congressional debates on these questions.

Thomas Corcoran is Director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Teachers
College, Columbia University. He formerly served as Policy Advisor for Education to the
Governor of New Jersey, and as Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Department of Education


            WWS 402f – Defining a Coherent U.S. Approach to the Middle East
                                     Conference
                            ROB, Thursday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                    Daniel Kurtzer

The Middle East has been a region of critical importance to the United States since the end of
World War II. While some substantial achievements have been registered for U.S. diplomacy
and interests, there have also been serious setbacks, with dangerous implications for our policy.
Despite long involvement with the region, successive U.S. administrations have not defined a set
of bipartisan, sustainable and over-arching interests of the U.S. in this region.
This policy dilemma has been complicated by endemic problems in the Middle East such as
weak regimes, suspect legitimacy, succession struggles, border disputes, poverty and class
struggle, and religious/secular divides that are common throughout the region. Arab specialists
have pointed to critical deficits in education systems, political rights and women’s
empowerment. At the same time, U.S. policymakers have described the region’s problems in far
different terms, for example, the persistence of violence and terrorism, the failure to accept
Israel’s right to exist, or the absence of democracy.

What are the core issues of concern to Arab societies in the Middle East? What progress is being
made by these societies themselves to deal with their problems? What are U.S. interests in these
countries and in the region? Do these problems and U.S. interests lend themselves to a coherent
U.S. policy approach to the Middle East and, if so, what elements ought to be included and what
should constitute U.S. policy priorities? The task force will try to answer these questions and
frame a report in the form of recommendations to the U.S. State Department.

Daniel C. Kurtzer is S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at the
Woodrow Wilson School. He spent 29 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, including service as the
United States Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005), and as the United States Ambassador to Egypt
(1997-2001).


           WWS 402g - Campaign Reform: Is this the Way to Elect a President?
                                    Task Force
                           ROB, Monday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                   Markus Prior

Every four years, Americans elect a president. Inevitably, complaints emerge about the electoral
process. The Electoral College distorts preferences. Voters are apathetic. Campaigning is too
negative. Media coverage is vacuous. Too much money is involved. Campaigns are too long.
The task force will examine the merits of these claims

Presidential elections in the United States are run according to a hodgepodge of constitutional
requirements, federal and state laws, policy guidelines, and party rules. It is influenced by
strategic considerations of the candidates, economic incentives of media organizations, and the
psychology of citizens. It also involves many different actors, including citizens, candidates,
parties, journalists, news organizations.       In this context, the task force will make
recommendations to the Democratic and Republican parties and to the news media.

Markus Prior is Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson
School.
                  WWS 402h - Conflict Prevention and U.S. Foreign Policy
                                       Task Force
                             ROB, Tuesday, 7:30-10:00 PM
                                    William L. Nash

This task force will explore the question of how to prevent conflicts in failed and failing states.
The premise of the task force is that conflict prevention is an effective instrument of U.S. foreign
policy and that the United States can better address these precarious situations in a time of
terrorism and global conflict. It will review the theoretical foundations of conflict prevention
and the policies that best address potential conflict situations. In doing so, it will examine the
influence of governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the
business community in pre-empting violence and creating an environment for peaceful political,
economic and social development.

The task force will consider conflict prevention as a set of issues along the full spectrum of
conflict management: before, during and after violent conflict. It will consider methods for
mitigating conflict and for reconstructing a country after a conflict. Its report will be in the form
of recommendations to the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State.

William L. Nash is a retired U.S Army major general; he has extensive experience in conflict
prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict operations.

								
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