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November 28, 2012: News, Research and Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: Amb. Djerejian on Gaza and Egypt; Associate Roundtable opportunities
In this edition
Associate Roundtable: A great opportunity to network and learn

Throughout the year, members of the Baker Institute Associate Roundtable — a Roundtable spinoff open to young adults — get together with institute fellows to discuss policy issues that affect the nation and the world.

This week, members met with political science fellow Mark P. Jones, pictured above, for breakfast and a lively conversation on the 2012 presidential election — and the Republican and Democratic Party power struggles ahead.

"It's great to talk to the fellows, who are doing cutting edge work that's not esoteric — it's really about current issues that impact all of us," said member Katie Slater, an attorney-turned-career-coach. "I appreciate that the Baker Institute is nonpartisan, and it's trying to educate people so they can make informed decisions. It's an incredible resource for Houston and one so accessible to the public."

The Associate Roundtable has been a leading membership group for young professionals and rising leaders up to age 45 in the Houston area since 2005. The group provides members with a unique networking opportunity with policy leaders, and a way to connect with peers interested in issues that truly matter to their generation. "It's amazing to be able to talk about these things in a civilized way, with people who are really thoughtful about the issues," Slater said.

Among other benefits, members receive invitations to five exclusive events at the Baker Institute; invitations to a minimum of 12 Baker Institute member events with national and international leaders and dignitaries; and complimentary copies of Baker Institute policy reports on topics ranging from health care reform to the boom in U.S. shale gas production.

To allow more people to join the Associate Roundtable, Roundtable members are encouraged to give a gift of membership to their adult children or grandchildren, couples, or an individual of their choosing. Upon request, the institute will award the gift membership to a promising young leader or Rice alumnus in the Houston area.

"Funding of this program is vital to the institute's future because it helps us engage the public and private sector leaders of tomorrow in the institute's research activities," said Baker Institute development director Christene Kimmel.

For more information on how to become an Associate Roundtable member, please contact Starr Dickerson, development coordinator, at 713-348-4200 or by email at

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Gaza, Egypt and the changing nature of U.S. diplomacy

As events rapidly unfold in the Middle East, media outlets around the world have sought the insights of founding director Edward P. Djerejian, former ambassador to Israel and to Syria.

Visit the Baker Institute website for links to many of the interviews, including the ambassador's recent comments to CNN on the cease-fire in Gaza. His discussion today with Minnesota Public Radio covered the changing nature of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. Links to his interviews on Syria's prospects and U.S. policy ramifications are here. The ambassador has also provided commentary on the outlook for the broader region, including Iran and the Middle East protests.

Also this week, two commentators noted that a 1992 speech Djerejian made as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs has resonance for Egypt today. In what is known as the Meridian House speech, Djerejian expressed concern that some would use democratic elections to come to power, then revert to autocratic rule. Instead of one man, one vote, he said, there are those who want "one man, one vote, one time."

"Those who are prepared to take specific steps toward free elections, creating independent judiciary, promoting the rule of law, reducing restrictions on the press, respecting the rights of minorities, and guaranteeing individual rights will find us ready to recognize and support their efforts, just as those moving in the opposite direction will find us ready to speak candidly and act accordingly," Djerejian said.

President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, who greatly expanded his powers this month, "would do well to survey America's definition of the characteristics of extremist groups" as described by the ambassador, Philip Whitfield wrote in a Nov. 26, 2012, Daily News Egypt commentary. Tarek Masoud of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government similarly referenced the ambassador's 1992 speech in the Nov. 27, 2012, CNN Opinion Page article "Don't blame Muslim Brotherhood for Morsy power grab."

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Baker Institute intern named Marshall Scholar

Baker Institute intern Rahul Rekhi '12 is one of 34 students across the United States selected for a 2013 Marshall Scholarship.

The scholarship, founded by an act of Parliament in 1953 to commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan, allows American students to pursue two years of graduate study at any institution in the United Kingdom. Marshall scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit, leadership and ambassadorial potential.

Rekhi, who is majoring in both bioengineering and economics at Rice, will use the scholarship to complete a Master of Science degree in international health policy at the London School of Economics and a Master of Science degree in bioengineering at Oxford University.

"Through these courses of study, I hope to lay the groundwork for leading internationally collaborative efforts throughout my career, both in the development of innovative therapies and in global policymaking," he said.

Rekhi has interned for the Baker Institute Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Policy Research Internship Program.

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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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