Johns Hopkins University’s SIAS Dean Delivers Lecture at AGDA

AGDA welcomes respected US political scientist Eliot A. Cohenwho delivered a lecture titled ‘Street Smarts versus Educated Judgment in International Affairs’ Lecture paves the way for further cooperation on thought leadership by AGDA and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Johns Hopkins University’s SIAS Dean Delivers Lecture at AGDA

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) has hosted the esteemed US political scientist Eliot A. Cohen who gave a lecture titled ‘Street Smarts versus Educated Judgement in International Relations’to both students and staffof AGDA, as well as employees from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC). 

Eliot A. Cohen is the incumbent Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. United States. His lecture is the latest in a series of guest lectures hosted at AGDAthat have been delivered by high-profile academic, diplomatic and political figures. 

Held virtually, Professor Cohen’s lecture makes the case for educated judgement by practitioners of diplomacy. His insights focused on how SAIS or AGDA have teaching methodologies which transcend conventional education as they contain practical elements that are of use to diplomats when working in the field. 

The lecture also paves the way for further cooperation between both SAIS and AGDA within thought leadership activities around the topics of international cooperation, strategic and intelligence studies, and public policy. 

His Excellency Bernardino León, the Director General of AGDA, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Professor Cohen today, hisperspectiveshave provided a fascinating window into the mechanics of international affairs.Professor Cohens extensive expertise on statecraft, foreign policy and military historyis acaptivating resource for both students and practitioners of international diplomacy.”

León also mentioned the importance of such events for student engagement, saying:“As a globally recognised centre of excellence that shapes foreign policy and develops world-class diplomats, AGDA strives to keep itsstudents engaged throughongoing events with distinguished and highly experienced politicians, diplomats and academics from across the world.”

In speaking about the similarities between AGDA and SAIS, Professor Cohen said: ‘AGDA, like Johns Hopkins SAIS, prides itself on preparing professionals for the world of affairs. Both schools inculcate in their students’ professional skills – from writing memoranda, to public speaking, to the arts of reporting, observing, and negotiating that are central to the practice of diplomacy. But they also teach what I like to think of as “educated judgment.” 

In discussing the use of educated judgment and streets smarts in internationals relations during his lecture, Professor Cohen highlighted that: “In the world as we know it, we see leaders who have grown up with what one might call “street smarts” – the kind of knowledge picked up in the rough and tumble of building sites or military camps, practical politics or business administration. It is the roughhewn common sense that sometimes can appear superior to educated judgment in coming to basic conclusions about the world as it really is, not as we might like it to be.”

Eliot A. Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies and Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS. He received his BA and PhD degrees from Harvard where he also taught for a brief period. He also taught at the US Naval War College before coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS in 1990. 

His books include, most recently, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force (2017) as well as Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battle along the Great Warpath that Made the American Way of War (2012) and Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (2003), among others.