Bologna Institute for Policy Research at SAIS Europe | News and Views
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News Analysis: Italy political divisions could come to a head in Democratic Party leadership vote


February 17, 2017

Gianfranco Pasquino Senior Adjunct Professor of European and Eurasian Studies

As Italy's Democratic Party debates who will lead the party into the next national elections, former PM Matteo Renzi – who currently leads the Democratic Party – has been pushing for the vote to take place as early as April. Renzi will have several challengers come spring, but experts say that Renzi remains a strong favorite. “If the vote is held in April or May, Renzi would almost surely win,” Professor Gianfranco Pasquino said.


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Iran president Rouhani visits Oman and Kuwait


February 14, 2017

Sanam Vakil Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies

Sanam Vakil is quoted in a Dotemirates article on Iran's effort to lower tensions with the GCC as Tehran braces for increased tensions with the U.S. under the Trump Administration. According to Vakil, dialing down tensions with the GCC is to Iran's advantage. “I think that there is more confidence particularly from the Saudi side to engage [because] they are aware that there is going to be increased pressure on Iran going forward,” said Vakil.


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Iran trains thousands of mercenaries each year to fight in Syria and Iraq wars claims PMOI


February 14, 2017

Sanam Vakil Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies

In an International Business Times article about allegations that Iran is training mercenaries to fight in Syria and Iraq, Sanam Vakil says that these claims speak to the extent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's (IRGC) training scheme. The White House recently said that it is considering designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity. "What I take from this is that this is a very sophisticated operation," Vakil said. "Iran's strategic strength is in asymmetrical proxy relationships.”


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When voters feel the world is broken, the Trumps rise


February 11, 2017

Erik Jones Director of European and Eurasian Studies; Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy

Matthias Matthijs Assistant Professor of International Political Economy

The Globe and Mail references a survey conducted by Erik Jones and Matthias Matthijs on how “declinism,” or a negative perception of society's changes, has led to considerable support for right-wing populist movements. Their survey results mirror U.S. exit polls, which found that the biggest identifier of a Donald Trump voter was the belief that America's time of “greatness” was over.


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The Current Turmoil in Italy (and Europe)


February 10, 2017

Erik Jones Director of European and Eurasian Studies; Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy

Erik Jones will be speaking at Harvard University's Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies on Friday, February 10 about the current political turmoil in Italy and about what Italy's instability means for Europe at large. According to Jones, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni needs to reform Italy's electoral laws and overcome other issues such as the country's problematic financial sector and a public disillusioned with Italy's political class.


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Iran Avoids Taking Trump Bait to Collapse Deal, For Now


February 6, 2017

Sanam Vakil Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies

Sanam Vakil is quoted in a Bloomberg article on the aftermath of the United States' new sanctions on Tehran over a ballistic missile test last week. According to Vakil, while Iran views recent U.S. statements as antagonistic, Iranian officials, who are anxious about resolving the Syrian conflict with Russian and U.S. cooperation, have largely moderated their responses. “The nature of the U.S.-Iranian relationship has clearly snapped back already from one of cautious engagement under Obama to, at best, containment under Trump,” Vakil said. “Anything is possible now.”


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Analysis: Trump Turns Attention to Yemen, but Is Looking at Iran


February 3, 2017

Sanam Vakil Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies

Sanam Vakil is quoted in an NBC News article about how Yemen may be the site of an ongoing proxy war between U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and Iran. According to Vakil, there's fear among Saudis that Iranian-backed Houthis, who are loyal to exiled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, will end up being a Yemeni model of Hezbollah.


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Le istituzioni non profit in Italia – Dieci anni dopo (in Italian)


February 1, 2017

Giulio Ecchia Adjunct Professor of International Economics

Giulio Ecchia co-edited a new book titled “Nonprofit institutions in Italy - Ten years later”. The volume illustrates the social and economic dimension of the Italian nonprofit sector following ten years of economic crisis, identifying challenges and opportunities for the future.


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The Rise of Populism and the Italian Referendum


January 31, 2017

Erik Jones Director of European and Eurasian Studies; Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy

In the Freethink Tank, Erik Jones explains the delicate balance Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni must strike between making the Italian democratic government “more effective,” and ensuring the public receives the political representation they seek. According to Jones, this current turmoil in Italy may create problems for the whole of Europe. “Any diagnosis…has to set out what Europeans expect from democratic processes both in terms of representation and in terms of effectiveness,” Jones writes.


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Trade, Industrialization and Structural Reforms in ASEAN


January 12, 2017

Michael G. Plummer Director, SAIS Europe
Eni Professor of International Economics


On Tuesday, January 10, Michael Plummer gave the keynote address at a conference on trade, industrialization and structural reforms in ASEAN. Held in Ho Chi Minh City, the conference examined policies that would improve each country's competitiveness and help the rapidly-changing region achieve inclusive growth.


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