Semester Highlights


Check out SFS Research from past semesters at the Mortara Center,

Spring 2018


This semester the Mortara Center continued our commitment to supporting and promoting undergraduate and graduate student research.  Through our Remapping IR initiative, the Walsh Exchange and Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows program, students from Georgetown and beyond were able to expand the reach of their research. Scroll down to learn more!


Remapping IR Seminars

This semester the Mortara Center and the Department of Government continued the Remapping IR initiative focused on alternative perspectives to power, states, and the international system. This series intends to broaden the intellectual discussion on who, how and what matters in international affairs. This semester's seminars included Ann Towns' presentation on gender and diplomacy and Peter Katzenstein and Lucia Seybert'sseminar on calculable risk and uncertainty in international politics.

Master Classes

In the Spring of 2018, the Mortara Center Remapping IR series welcomed two scholars to give working paper talks and a Master Class for students. Phil Ayoub andSabrina Karim presented to a broad audience on their work in progress and also met with a small group of students. In this small seminar format, undergraduate, Masters and PhD students were able to discuss their own work.

 One participant describes his experience:  
"I really benefited from the broad advice on a variety of topics that the presenter provided at the beginning of the session and also gained a great deal from the latter portion of the session during which the speaker discussed each of our individual project ideas with us. It was a fantastic experience!"

--Master Class Student 

.Phil Ayoub's Master Class on January 29th
 focused on his work on LGBTQ and sexual minority issues in international relations. Sabrina Karim's research focuses on issues of gender and conflict including UN State Building in Liberia and its effect on the national police force.  She taught her master class on April 23rd. 

Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows

.From left to right: Harsh Dubey '21, Arjun Mehrotra '20, Eric Menna '18, Bessie Zavidow '18, Signe Stroming '18, Saisha Mediratta '20, Fiona Singer '20, Emma Rhodes '20, Paul Castaybert '21, Jonathon Marek '21 (not pictured: Schuyler Colloredo-Mansfield '19, Meghna Sinha '19, Adam Potter '20, Ricardo Flores '20, Nicole Ruggiero '21)

On Friday, April 13th, 2018, the senior and sophomore Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows (MURFs) presented their research at the annual MURF Symposium. Senior Bessie Zavidow described her unique research experience in Udaipur, India collaborating with a non-profit called Seva Mandir on a number of projects including Gender-Disaggregated Monitoring in the Kotra Block and an Impact Analysis of a Trained Birth Attendant Intervention in the Kherwara Block. On the other hand, Senior Eric Menna explained his personal motivations and research path that eventually led to a qualitative text analysis of racial and religious bias in the South African media in response to acts of terrorism.  

America's National Security Tool-Box: Role Play
Former Secretary of State and the Michael and Virginia Mortara Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Madeleine Albright, held her annual Role Play simulation on March 24-25th as part of her undergraduate course, America's National Security ToolBox.

The students represented countries on the UN Security Council and individuals on the US Principals Committee. They discussed the humanitarian crisis and conflict in Yemen and its implications for regional stability and U.S. national security. Secretary Albright's Teaching Assistants describe the role play experience from their perspective:

"The Role-Play this year was fantastic! All of the students came thoroughly prepared and were able to confidently and creatively handle the hypothetical crises Secretary Albright threw at them. 

I heard from students that they found it especially fascinating to follow the trajectory of real-life events in preparation for the Role-Play, and that it got them interested in a humanitarian crisis and regional proxy war that has flown under the radar. They were also surprised at how difficult the national security policymaking process can be when there are so many voices and interests at the table."      
- Shannon Mizzi, Security Studies Program, ‘18 

"During this spring's national security crisis simulation, Professor Albright's undergraduate students were forced to navigate complex dynamics on the Arabian Peninsula and beyond while also managing one-on-one relationships in high-stress environments.  Additional "disruptions," including the bombing of a humanitarian aid convoy in Yemen, alleged activity at Iranian nuclear sites, and the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Poland only made things more complicated."
 - Kirby Neuner, Security Studies Program, ‘18

"We were all impressed with the students' level of preparation and commitment to the Role-Play. This year's simulation featured a sophisticated scenario that touched on many different aspects of foreign policy decision-making...In addition to problem-solving and negotiating among themselves, the students also had to give press briefings, participate in congressional hearings, and brief President Albright about the day's events."
- Friederike Kaiser, German and European Studies Program, ’18

Walsh Exchange

.The 7th Annual Walsh Exchange was hosted at Mortara from April 12th to April 13th, and brought undergraduate researchers from all over the world, including Singapore and Italy, to the Mortara Center both in-person and digitally. Topics ranged from Bitcoin to North African Insurgencies. 





This semester the Mortara Center and the Department of Government continued the new series entitled Remapping IR, which focused on alternative perspectives to power, states, and the international system. This series intends to broaden the intellectual discussion on who, how and what matters in international affairs.

Interview with Laura Sjoberg

The series featured presentations by L.H.M. Ling (New School), Laura Sjoberg (University of Florida), and J.P. Singh (University of Edinburgh).

The Mortara Center hosted 3 International History Seminars, 8 Political Economy Seminars, and 3 Energy and Climate Policy Research Seminars  this semester. These seminars brought together Georgetown Faculty from across the university to discuss the most pressing issues in their fields.


Throughout the semester, the Mortara Center held two In the News events. The first event of this series involved a conversation and Q&A session with Professors Colin Kahl and Paul Pillar regarding the national security and intelligence challenges that the Trump administration faces. The second event highlighted the implications and process of Brexit with Professors Jeffrey Anderson, Kathleen McNamara, and Mortara Center Director Abraham Newman.

The Mortara Center hosted 4 CRITICS Seminars, where presenters discussed scaling perceptions of challenger and government tactics, authoritarian institutions and women's rights, immigration attitudes in Sweden, and the differential spread of the smallpox vaccine in nineteenth century Canton and Calcutta.

The Mortara Center hosted 3 book workshops this semester. Professors Oriana Mastro, Emily Mendenhall, and Erik Voeten discussed their upcoming projects with fellow Georgetown Faculty and other experts and received valuable feedback on their work.


On March 31st - April 1st, the Mortara Center hosted the 6th Annual Walsh Exchange. In addition to student panels, the undergraduate research conference included a keynote address by Ambassador Peter Wittig and a discussion on European politics led by Professor Charlotte Cavaillé. 

On Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 the Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellows  (MURFs) presented their research projects and experiences gained through the fellowship. At the Mortara Undergraduate Research Symposium, MURFs presented on topics as varied as informal mechanisms for transboundary water cooperation in the Indus Basin, Title IX and the Olympics, regional insights on 1325 National Action Plans, and estimating dynamic state preferences from UN voting data. 

Senior MURF Bethan Saunders reflects on her experiences: "I am immensely grateful of the MURFs program because it has allowed me to expand my Georgetown experience beyond my classes and into the exciting and captivating world of research.

Click here to watch the Presentations

The Mortara Center hosted 4 GUITARS Seminars, which highlighted monitoring global food production, international investment law and foreign direct investment, industrialized country preferences for free trade agreements over the WTO,  and nuclear intelligence and international organization.

This semester the Mortara Center hosted three book launch presentations for Georgetown faculty.

Interview with John Tutino and Adam Rothman on their work New Countries: Capitalism, Revolution and Nations in the Americas 1750-1870

Secretary Albright's undergraduate seminar held their annual Role Play simulation at the end of March. The students represented countries on the UN Security Council and individuals on the US Principals Committee as they dealt with escalating tensions with North Korea.

role play

In partnership with the SFS Dean's Office, the Mortara Center implemented it's new Global Governance Lab. This lab included two research groups. Professor Erik Voeten worked with 15 students from the Krogh Seminar (INAF339) on the Multilateral Moneyball project initiated by the State Department's International Organization Bureau. Professor Abraham Newman constructed a research team to investigate the United States Securities Exchange Commission as a global governor. The team included a Post Doctoral Researcher funded by the Carnegie Endowment, a PhD student from the Government Department and five SFS freshman.






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