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Sanctions and Divestments: Economic Weapons of Political and Social Change

33rd Social Research Conference April 30 - May 1, 2015

The conference examined the ways sanctions and divestments are used to attain economic and political ends generally thought to be consistent with democratic principles, although there have been occasions when the use of these economic weapons have been condemned as exercises in neo-imperialist power. Panels focused on the impact of sanctions of human rights, climate change efforts, and case studies on several countries including Cuba, Iran, Burma, and South Korea. The keynote speech was delivered by R.Nicholas Burns

Speakers included Richard Goldstone, Daniel Drezner, Suzanne Malone, Aryeh Neier, Eric Alterman, Todd Gitlin, Reid Capalino, Andrew J. Nathan, Marcus Noland, William LeoGrande, Sean Turnell, Berhanu Nega, Nimer Sultany, and Nina Khrushcheva.

Proceedings from this conference can be found in Social Research: An International Quarterly



Thursday, April 30, 2015

1:00–3:00 p.m. Session 1: A Global Agenda

The Impact of Sanctions on Human Rights Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations (1993-2012); former Executive Director and Co-Founder, Human Rights Watch

Sanctions as an Economic Weapon: An Overview Daniel W. Drezner, Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Institution; contributor, Washington Post

Divestment as a Strategy to Address Climate Change Reid Capalino, Senior Energy Analyst, Carbon Tracker

Session 1: Discussion

Moderator: Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School for Public Engagement; lead author and director, UNDP Human Development Reports (1995-2004)

3:30-5:30 p.m. Session 2: Then and Now (Part 1)

South Africa Richard J. Goldstone, Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law; served as Chairperson of the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, later known as the Goldstone Commission

Iran Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution

China After Tiananmen Square Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University; co-author, The Tiananmen Papers (Public Affairs, 2001)

Session 2: Discussion

Moderator: Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory, The New School for Social Research

Friday, May 1, 2015

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Session 3: Then and Now (Part 2)

Cuba William LeoGrande, Professor of Government, School of Public Affairs, American University

Burma Sean Turnell, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Macquarie University

North Korea Marcus Noland, Executive Vice President, Director of Studies, Peterson Institute for International Economics; author, Korea after Kim Jong-il (2004) and Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas (2000)

Session 3: Discussion

Moderator: Eric Alterman, Distinguished Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York; Professor of Journalism, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; "The Liberal Media" columnist, The Nation; fellow, The Nation Institute

1:00 -3:30 p.m. Session 4: Targeting Conflicts Between and Within Territories

African Country Conflicts Berhanu Nega, Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University; Co-founder, Ginbot 7

Israel, Palestine, and the BDS Movement Todd Gitlin, Professor, Columbia School of Journalism; author Nimer Sultany, Lecturer in Public Law, in the School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Russia Nina L. Khrushcheva, Associate Professor, Graduate Program of International Affairs, The New School; Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute; author, The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind (Tate, 2014)

Session 4: Discussion

Moderator: Oz Frankel, Associate Professor of History, Historical Studies Department, The New School

3:45 - 5:15 PM Session 5: KEYNOTE ADDRESS

R. Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School; Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, 2005-2008; United States Permanent Representative to NATO, 2001-2005

Moderator: Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations (1993-2012); former Executive Director and Co-Founder, Human Rights Watch



Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators

Eric Alterman is Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He is also The Liberal Media columnist for The Nation, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, and the Nation Insitute and World Policy Institute in New York, as well as former columnist for The Daily Beast, The Forward, Moment, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the Sunday Express (London), and other publications. Professor Alterman is the author of ten books, including the national bestseller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News. His first book, Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992), won the George Orwell Award and his It Ain’t No Sin to Be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999) won the Jack London Literary Prize. Professor Alterman has been called “the most honest and incisive media critic writing today” in The National Catholic Reporter and the author of “the smartest and funniest political journal out there,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. A winner of the George Orwell Prize, the Jack London Literary Award, and the Mirror Award for media criticism, he has taught at Columbia and NYU and has been Hoover Institution Media fellow at Stanford University. Alterman received a PhD in American History from Stanford, an MA in International Relations at Yale, and a BA from Cornell. He lives with his family in Manhattan. More information is available at

Andrew Arato is the Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor in Political and Social Theory. He has taught at Ecole des hautes etudes and Sciences Po in Paris and the Central European University in Budapest, had a Fulbright teaching grant to Montevideo in 1991, and was Distinguished Fulbright Professor at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. Professor Arato served as a consultant for the Hungarian Parliament on constitutional issues from 1996 to 1997, and as U.S. State Department Democracy Lecturer and Consultant (on constitutional issues) in Nepal in 2007. In November 2010, he was re-appointed by the State Department in the same capacity for Zimbabwe, where he held discussions with civil society activists and political leaders in charge of the constitution-making process. He was invited to become a professor at the College de France in spring 2012. Professor Arato's scholarly research is widely recognized and conferences and sessions were organized around his work at University of Glasgow Law School, in spring 2009, and Koc University, Istanbul, in December 2009, as well as at the Faculty of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2010. Professor Arato has also been appointed Honorary Professor and Bram Fischer Visiting Scholar at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand (June 2010–June 2011).

R. Nicholas Burns is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the faculty director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and faculty chair of the programs on the Middle East and South Asia. He writes a bi-weekly foreign affairs column for the Boston Globe. Professor Burns is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board at the U.S. Department of State, Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, and a Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group. He served in the United States Foreign Service for 27 years until his retirement in April 2008. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Prior to that, he served as Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001), and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). Professor Burns worked on the National Security Council staff, where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and, before that, Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush. Earlier in his career, he worked at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem and in the American Embassies in Egypt and Mauritania. Professor Burns serves on the boards of several corporate and nonprofit organizations.

Reid Capalino is Senior Energy Analyst at the Carbon Tracker Initiative. At Carbon Tracker, Capalino evaluates the impacts on fossil fuel assets at the company and project level resulting from the transition to a low-carbon economy. Since 2013, he has co-authored a dozen reports on financial risks related to climate change, including major studies of oil and coal markets as part of Carbon Tracker’sCarbon Supply Cost Curve series. This work has been covered by the New York Times, the Financial Times, The Guardian,Bloomberg, and other publications. Prior to joining Carbon Tracker, Capalino served as an Analyst at Deutsche Bank Climate Advisors (DBCCA). There he published investment research on energy markets and assisted fund managers with $3 billion AUM to evaluate investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and agriculture. In this role, Capalino also managed complex research engagements with external partners such as the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Generation Foundation (part of Generation Investment Management), the US Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, and the Investor Network on Climate Risk. Capalino has a Master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Reed College. He lives with his wife in New York City.

Daniel W. Drezner is Professor of International Politics, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing editor at the Washington Post. Before working at Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury and received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. Drezner has written five books, including All Politics Is Global and Theories of International Politics and Zombies, and edited two others, including Avoiding Trivia. He has published articles in numerous scholarly journals and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Foreign Affairs, and has been a contributing editor for Foreign Policy and the National Interest.Professor Drezner received his BA in Political Economy from Williams College and an MA in Economics and PhD in Political Science from Stanford University. His blog for Foreign Policy magazine was named by Time as one of the 25 best blogs of 2012; he currently writes the Spoiler Alerts blog for the Washington Post. His latest book, The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression, was published by Oxford University Press in June 2014.

Oz Frankel

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School. She is a development economist interested in human development and capabilities and the broad question of national and international policy strategies. Her current research includes projects on public policies and economic and social rights, and the impact of global goal setting on international development agendas. From 1995 to 2004, she was lead author and director of the UNDP Human Development Reports. Prior to this, she worked at the World Bank and UNDP on agriculture, aid coordination in Africa, and capacity development. Her recent publications includeFulfilling Social and Economic Rights (with T. Lawson-Remer and S. Randolph, Oxford, 2015), The MDGs, Capabilities and Human Rights: The Power of Numbers to Shape Agendas (co-edited with A. Yamin, Routledge, London, 2015), and Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (co-edited with Diane Elson and Polly Vizard, 2011), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on poverty, gender, human rights, and technology. Professor Fukuda-Parr serves on the UN Committee on Development Policy as Vice Chair, The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health, and the boards of the International Association for Feminist Economics, the Center for Economic and Social Rights, and Knowledge Ecology International. She also serves on the editorial boards of Feminist Economics and Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

The Honorable Richard J. Goldstone is presently the Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law. He is the Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. In 2009, he led the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the 2008-09 Gaza War. He served as the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Previously, Justice Goldstone served as Chairperson of the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, later known as the Goldstone Commission. He serves on the Board of Directors of several nonprofit organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights; the International Center for Transitional Justice; the South African Legal Services Foundation; the Brandeis University Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life; Human Rights Watch; and the Center for Economic and Social Rights. The Honorable Mr. Goldstone has been a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and a member of the International Group of Advisers of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He received a B.A. LL.B. cum laude from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1962. He then practiced as an Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. In 1976, he was appointed Senior Counsel and was made Judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court in 1980. He has received the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association, the MacArthur Award for International Justice, and the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights, among other honors.

Todd Gitlin

Nina L. Khrushcheva is Associate Professor in the Graduate Program of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Milano School of International Affairs at The New School. She is a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute and an editor of and a contributor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the World. After receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton University, she had a two-year appointment as a research fellow at the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and then served as Deputy Editor of East European Constitutional Review at the NYU School of Law. She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of Great Immigrants: The Pride of America Award from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Her articles have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and other publications. She is the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics (Yale UP, 2008) and The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind (Tate Publishing, 2014).

William LeoGrande is Professor of Government and a specialist in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America, Professor LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 – 1992. Most recently, he is coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate, and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Central America of the United States House of Representatives. Professor LeoGrande has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, and a Pew Faculty Fellow in International Affairs. His articles have appeared in various international and national journals, magazines and newspapers.

Suzanne Maloney is is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, where her research focuses on energy, economic reform and U.S. policy toward the Middle East. Most recently, she was a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, covering Iran, Iraq, the Gulf States and broader Middle East issues. Prior to joining the government, she was the Middle East advisor at ExxonMobil Corporation, where she worked on regional business development, political risk analysis and corporate outreach and communications. She is author of Iran’s Long Reach: Iran as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World. She was the recipient of an International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations and has previously served at Brookings as an Olin fellow and a Brookings research fellow. She holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, chair of the steering committee of the Center for the Study of Human Rights, and chair of the Morningside Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Columbia University. He is also co-chair of the board of Human Rights in China, a member of the board of Freedom House, and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Asia, which he chaired (1995-2000). He is the regular Asia book reviewer for Foreign Affairs magazine and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Contemporary China, China Information, and others. Nathan's books include Peking Politics, 1918-1923; Chinese Democracy; Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, co-edited with David Johnson and Evelyn S. Rawski; Human Rights in Contemporary China, with R. Randle Edwards and Louis Henkin; China's Crisis; The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security, with Robert S. Ross; China's Transition; The Tiananmen Papers, co-edited with Perry Link; Negotiating Culture and Human Rights: Beyond Universalism and Relativism, co-edited with Lynda S. Bell and Ilan Peleg; China's New Rulers: The Secret Files, co-authored with Bruce Gilley; Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization, co-edited with Mahmood Monshipouri, Neil Englehart, and Kavita Philip; How East Asians View Democracy, co-edited with Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond, and Doh Chull Shin; and the second edition of The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, co-authored with Andrew Scobell.

Berhanu Nega was born in Ethiopia and taught at Bucknell for three years after completing his doctorate. In 1994, he returned to Addis Ababa, where he became deeply involved in the political process. In 2005, he was elected mayor of the city, but never assumed this role. Instead, he was arrested after the government responded violently to peaceful protests against the rigging of the election, and he spent 21 months in jail. Released in July 2007, he returned to Bucknell in the spring 2008 semester, determined to promote the principles of freedom and democratization necessary for a healthy and thriving societal structure. Professor Nega says that even when he was very young, he was interested in the economic outcomes that emerge between institutions and political activity. Since his release from prison, his research focused on democratization and development. He says his research has shown him that, quite simply, "if you can't get your politics right, you can't get your economy right. A country may attain short-term goals, but without an inclusive, broad-based political structure, growth isn't sustainable. You can't have long-term progress when only a small portion of society benefits." A series of questions naturally follow, such as the influence of internal vs. external factors and what constitutes a democracy, once you open the door and ask how society benefits, says Professor Nega, and he encourages his students to explore those questions. "It is difficult to be an effective teacher without following what the current literature and debate is, and by its nature research keeps you abreast of contemporary discussion," he says. "I try as much as possible to give my students not only the literature in the debates but also real-world examples of how these issues impact people on the ground. They can start to see that these aren't abstract, ivory tower discussions. These questions impact millions of real people in the real world. I want to link real-world experiences to classroom discussions."

Aryeh Neier is president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations. He was president from 1993 to 2012. Before that, he served for 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder in 1978. He worked 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national executive director. He served as an adjunct professor of law at New York University for more than a dozen years, and has also taught at Georgetown University Law School and the University of Siena (Italy). Since 2012, he has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs of Sciences Po. Professor Neier is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and has published in periodicals such as the New York Times Magazine, theNew York Times Book Review, and Foreign Policy. For a dozen years, he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation. He has contributed more than 200 op-ed articles to newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the International Herald Tribune. Author of seven books, including, most recently, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (2012), Professor Neier has also contributed chapters to more than 20 books. He has lectured at many leading universities in the United States and worldwide. He is the recipient of seven honorary degrees and numerous awards from such organizations as the American Bar Association, the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Marcus Noland is Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He has been associated with the Institute since 1985 and was the Deputy Director from 2009 through 2012. He won the 2000–2001 Ohira Memorial Award for his book Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas. He is the author of many other books, includingConfronting the Curse: The Economics and Geopolitics of Natural Resource Governance (co-author, 2014), The Arab Economies in a Changing World (Second Edition, 2011), Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea (2011), and Korea after Kim Jong-il (2004). He has written many scholarly articles on international economics, US trade policy, and the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. He has served as an occasional consultant to organizations such as the World Bank and the National Intelligence Council, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions.

Nimer Sultany is a Lecturer in Public Law in the School of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, UK. He worked as a human rights lawyer in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and headed the Political Monitoring Project at Mada al-Carmel - The Arab Center for Applied Social Research. His publications include: "The State of Progressive Constitutional Theory: The Paradox of Constitutional Democracy and the Project of Political Justification" (Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review); Citizens without Citizenship: Israel and the Palestinian Minority (Mada, 2003); 'The Legacy of Justice Aharon Barak: A Critical Review" (Harvard International Law Journal Online); and (with Nadim Rouhana) "Redrawing the Boundaries of Citizenship: Israel's New Hegemony" (Journal of Palestine Studies).

Nimer Sultany

Sean Turnell has researched Burma’s economy for nearly 20 years. Formerly a Senior Analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia, he is currently based at Macquarie University in Sydney. Sean has written widely on Burma’s economy and is a regular commentator on the country in the international press. He has been an advisor on Burma to the U.S. State Department and other agencies, including USAID, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the World Bank, and many other international bodies. He has been a close advisor to George Soros and the Open Society Institute. Within Burma, Sean is an advisor to a number of key stakeholders but especially the country’s opposition leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2009, the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies published Turnell’s book on the history of the financial sector in Burma, Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma. Turnell has been a visiting fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, the Southeast Asia Programme, Cornell University, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Singapore. He is currently completing a new book on Burma’s economic reform program.

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