December 14, 2021

The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs Launches New Print Edition, Facilitates Global Engagement on Campus

The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (GJIA) is the flagship academic publication of the School of Foreign Service. Completely student-run, the journal features policy analysis and current-events commentary from scholars and field practitioners. Its newest print edition, titled Deja-Vu: Dangers of Global Amnesia, launched on November 4, 2021, with an event that featured distinguished guests as speakers.

Varsha Mernon (SFS’21, G’22), editor-in-chief of the fall 2021 journal edition, speaking at the print launch.
Varsha Mernon (SFS’21, G’22), editor-in-chief of the fall 2021 journal edition, speaking at the print launch.

The new edition has been in the works for half a year. Its completion is a testament to student initiative and global engagement on campus.

Training Active Global Citizens

During the print launch, Joel Hellman—dean of the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and a fan of the journal—described it as “a student-run publication which engages … with the world of practice, respects the wisdom of elders, but recognizes that students are in charge.” 

All of the journal’s executive and editorial staff are Georgetown students, representing a range of graduate and undergraduate programs. That reflects the intentional commitment of the executive board to incorporating voices from other Georgetown schools and nurturing the intellectual curiosity and diversity of GJIA staff, who work hard to solicit perspectives that are often overshadowed in contemporary international relations discourse.

Uri Guttman (C’24), an editorial assistant, appreciates that the journal’s mission to incorporate the student lens in international affairs discourse encourages Georgetown students to be active global citizens. 

I joined GJIA because I wanted to participate in a truly unique project, in which I can connect intimately with leading thinkers in the global issues which shape our world. So far, being a part of GJIA has lived up to these expectations.

For the executive board, it’s critical that work at GJIA allows students to put what they learn in the classroom into practice. Editorial assistants often end up editing pieces from scholars whose work is featured in their classes. GJIA’s faculty adviser, Professor Mark Giordano, concurred that the journal is a great mechanism for getting students to interact critically with concepts from class. 

“You learn much more as a professor than you do as a student. In the same way, the students get more engaged in actual issues because they have to come up with the topics, they have to read the articles and make sure they make sense, and to ask questions.” 

Gaining Practical and Professional Experience

The journal is also an excellent way for students to acquire practical and professional knowledge. GJIA editorial assistants research topics, reach out to potential contributors, and work with the writers throughout the editing process to make sure the piece adheres to the standards of GJIA. 

According to editorial assistant Martina Cardova (SFS’21), “GJIA has helped me stay engaged with global issues as I keep searching news outlets each week to come up with interesting, unique, and important topics to solicit, in addition to searching for suitable authors and researching their work.” 

Melissa Deng (SFS’21), executive director, and Steven Vo (C’21), chief development director, speaking at the event.
Melissa Deng (SFS’21), executive director, and Steven Vo (C’21), chief development director, speaking at the event.

Sophia Ceriello (C'24), another editorial assistant, shared that she’s started paying even more attention to the topics her professors mention in class but don’t cover in formal course material. 

“For every emerging issue that students ask about and my professors aren’t well acquainted with, I find myself thinking about how to connect with experts who may have the answers.”

Carol Dumaine, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and speaker at the print launch, remarked that “you would never know [that they are students]. They were extraordinarily professional, and it was a very difficult article that I chose to write. These editors were great and made great suggestions.” Listening to the experiences of various GJIA contributors, it’s clear that her positive experience is a typical one of those who write for the journal. 

Deja-Vu: Dangers of Global Amnesia

The newest print edition includes articles like “The Health of Nations in an Age of Global Risks: COVID-19's Implications for New Paradigms of Human Rights and International Security and Cooperation” by Carol Dumaine and “War in the Fog: Historical Memory, the Fog of War, and Unforgetting the Aleutians War” by Barry Scott Zellen, a senior research scholar at the Naval Postgraduate School. Additional articles are uploaded to the GJIA website on a regular basis. 

Varsha Menon (SFS’21, G’22), undergraduate editor-in-chief of the fall 2021 print edition, commented that the journal’s executive board “felt a sense of urgency to preserve the lessons from the mistakes and triumphs humanity has made throughout time. As we endured (and continue to endure) this global pandemic, there are many lessons to take away of what to do and what not to do in the future, which is critical as the world needs to come together to fight climate change and future pandemics.” 

The journal faced its own set of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was able to operate successfully on a virtual basis. This print launch was the first event of its kind that GJIA was able to host in nearly two years. 

What’s Next? 

In the upcoming spring 2022 semester, GJIA is planning to host a number of events that will facilitate global engagement on campus, as well as promote the academic and professional development of its student staff. The inaugural Student Editors in World Affairs Conference (SEWA) will convene student editors from academic publications across the East Coast to share their experiences and knowledge. Another initiative in the works is the establishment of a faculty roundtable, whose members will share best practices and mentor GJIA student editors both academically and professionally. 

Most importantly, the journal’s executive board is eager to continue its important work in publishing articles on critical topics from established and emerging world-class thinkers. 

As our generation is next to step up and address some of the world’s existential issues, we hope that our work will be able to inform policy and show modern IR policy discourse what we are concerned about.