Even before the pandemic struck, international politics were being tested by a rising China, a retrenching America, a revanchist Russia, and a strained European Union, along with corresponding challenges to global institutions like the United Nations. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these trends. This panel will explore the ways in which the pandemic, and the varied responses to it, has altered – perhaps permanently – relations amongst the world’s great powers, and the operations of global institutions like the UN and World Health Organization.
Danielle Pletka is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Until January 2020, she was senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies where she oversaw the Institute’s work on foreign and defense issues. Ms. Pletka writes regularly on national security matters with a special focus onU.S. foreign policy and he Middle East. Before joining AEI, Ms. Pletka was a longtime senior professional staff member for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where she specialized in the Near East and South Asia as the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Ms. Pletka has authored, coauthored, and coedited a variety of studies, monographs, and book chapters, including the report “Tehran Stands Atop the Syria-Iran Alliance” (Atlantic Council, 2017); the chapter “America in Decline” in “Debating the Obama Presidency” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); “America vs. Iran: The Competition for the Future of the Middle East” (AEI, 2014); “Iranian Influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI, 2012); “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI, 2011); and “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI, 2008). A regular guest on television, Ms. Pletka appears frequently on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” Her broadcast appearances also include CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, and MSNBC. She also writes regularly for The Dispatch, and has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, and Politico, among other outlets. She has an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Smith College.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership, and has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. Professor Sachs served as the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. During that time, he led a university-wide organization of more than 850 research scientists and policy experts in support of sustainable development, championed the Masters of Development Practice (MDP) program, which is now offered at 30 universities around the world, and helped to introduce the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He was appointed University Professor at Columbia University in 2016 and also serves as Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. Professor Sachs is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. His work on ending poverty, overcoming macroeconomic instability, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease, and promoting sustainable environmental practices has taken him to more than 125 countries. Over the past thirty years, he has advised dozens of heads of state and governments on economic strategy in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He was among the outside advisors to Pope John Paul II on the encyclical Centesimus Annus and currently works closely with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on issues of sustainable development. Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Professor Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he served as the Director of the Center for International Development and the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively.
Andrew Scobell is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, adjunct professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and member of the faculty at Pardee RAND Graduate School. He previously he served on the faculty of the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and as director of the China certificate program at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. From 1999 until 2007, Scobell was a research professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College and adjunct professor of political science at Dickinson College, both located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His publications include At the Dawn of Belt and Road: China in the Developing World (RAND, 2018), PLA Influence on China’s National Security Policymaking (Stanford University Press, 2015), China’s Search for Security (Columbia University Press, 2012), China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Scobell was born and raised in Hong Kong and regularly makes research trips to the region. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
Stuart Gottlieb is Adjunct Professor of International Affairs and Public Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a Member of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. Gottlieb teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy, counterterrorism, and international security. He also serves as Faculty Director for SIPA’s certificate program in International Relations. Prior to joining SIPA in 2003, Gottlieb worked for five years in the United States Senate, first as senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York and subsequently as policy adviser and chief speechwriter for Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. He has also worked on several political campaigns, including New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s reelection campaign in 1997 and presidential campaign in 2008. Gottlieb holds a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University.