Debate and Decision Series
Syria: Should the United States Do More?
Hosted by McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
US Navy Memorial, Burke Theater
701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20004
Please note that you must RSVP separately for the McCain Institute Debate.
A livestream of the debate can be accessed at www.mccaininstitute.org/live.
Over the past three years, popular political protests in Syria led to mass state repression and the country’s descent into a devastating civil war. Over 190,000 people have been killed, countless more injured, and entire towns demolished. Nearly half of Syria’s 22 million people had fled their homes, either as refugees or internally displaced persons. The human cost of this conflict is extraordinary and the world’s great powers remain divided on coordinated international action, even as the situation has expanded to become a major regional conflict.
For some time, public U.S. debate and discussion on the Syrian crisis has been limited and presented in a binary fashion, as a choice between robust military action or marked disengagement. Then, in mid-2014, as the conflict significantly impacted Iraqi national security, the U.S. and a collection of allies began a series of focused military activities. The situation remains uncertain and there is a lack of consensus regarding U.S. policy objectives and strategy regarding the crisis in Syria.
This conference brings together experts on international law, the documentation of atrocities in Syria, reporting on the conflict, engaging social media, assessing the humanitarian and psycho-social impact of the war, and imagining more comprehensive solutions.
Conference panelists and moderators include: Peter Baker, White House Correspondent for the New York Times; Alexandra Brosnan, International Rescue Committee; Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Associate Editor, Washington Post; David Crane, Syracuse University School of Law; Jennifer Daskal, American University School of Law; Megan Price, Human Rights Data Analysis Group; George Sabra, President of the Syrian National Council; Randa Slim, Middle East Institute; Jim Zogby, Arab American Institute, with a keynote address from Amb. (ret) Robert Ford.
Following the conference is an evening debate on U.S. policy in Syria hosted by ASU's McCain Institute for International Leadership at ASU.
Please also note that live streaming will be available for all portions of the conference. Links and information on how to watch the conference live will be accessible on the event webpage by January 14.
8:30 AM - 9:00 AM: Registration Opens
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM: Welcome Remarks
Arizona State University
9:15 AM - 10:30 AM: Atrocities, International Law, and Accountability
This panel outlines the current data and patterns regarding atrocities committed in the Syrian crisis and analyzes these events in relation to international human rights and humanitarian law along with a review of current and future efforts to ensure accountability for these violations.
Human Rights Data Analysis Group
Syracuse University School of Law
Syrian Democratic People's Party and the Syrian National Council
10:40 AM - 11:55 AM: Media Portrayal of the Crisis
This panel provides an overview of how the Syrian crisis has been covered by the U.S. and international media.
New York Times
Honey Al Sayed
12:05 PM - 1:05 PM: Luncheon Keynote Address
Ambassador Robert Ford
U.S. Ambassador to Syria, retired and Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute
1:15 PM - 2:40 PM: Regional Humanitarian Crisis and Policy Responses
This panel reviews the scope of the regional humanitarian crisis, considering issues of refugees, internally displaced persons, the situation of women and children, and the psychological impact of the conflict and considers current policy responses.
International Rescue Committee
National Syrian Women's Association
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Former U.S. Department of Defense Analyst
Caerus Global Solutions
2:55 PM - 3:55 PM: What Can Be Done?
This panel considers a number of specific policy actions to address the crisis in Syria, including strategies of regional political coordination and military action.
Arab American Institute
Thomas O. Melia
U.S. Department of State
Research Fellow, New America Aaron Y. Zelin, The Washington Institute
4:00 PM: Concluding Remarks at FHI 360
5:00 PM: McCain Institute Debate Begins
Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Aaron David Miller
Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor, The University of Oklahoma College of International Studies
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to excellence, access and impact. ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good; and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.
We would like to thank the members of the ASU and New America teams who are helping to support this event. We would also like to especially acknowledge and thank the Syrian American community in Phoenix, Arizona who have helped to advise the event.
For more information or to learn ways to support the conference, please contact Kathryn Scheckel, Office of the President, Arizona State University by email at Kathryn.Scheckel@asu.edu.