Global hotspots and blind spots

Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter is known as someone who has helped shatter many glass ceilings, those barriers to advancement in a profession, especially those affecting women.

She served as director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Prior to her government service, she was the dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She was also a professor of international, foreign and comparative law at Harvard Law School.

Slaughter now serves as president and CEO of New America, a think and action tank dedicated to renewing America in the digital age.

The Reves Center for International Studies invited her to deliver its 2019 George Tayloe Ross address on International Peace. Her talk is titled, “Global Hotspots and Blind Spots on the Geopolitical Landscape.”

I asked Slaughter what message she has for her audience at the College of William & Mary?.

“I hope to convince them to look at global politics from two different perspectives simultaneously,” she said in an interview with the Gazette. “To look at the ‘chessboard’ world of geopolitics and the ‘web’ world of global networks comprised of CEO’s, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization), criminals, and other non-state actors, but also majors and governors. When you learn to see the world ‘in stereo’ this way, you compensate for lots of blind spots and can better analyze many hotspots.”

No doubt, Slaughter achieved high positions in government and academia as a result of her original thinking and hard work.

“My father raised me to have a career because as a lawyer in Charlottesville in the 1960s, he saw many divorces in which the wife, having supported the husband in many ways over the years, no longer had a way to support herself. He vowed that would never happen to his daughter.”

Slaughter never lacked a job and it was easy for her to step into a number of leadership positions.

“I absolutely loved law teaching,” she said. “I was able to inculcate class after class of first-year law students not only the substance of civil procedure but also the ideals of the rule of law, the indispensable connection between law and justice, and the dual role of serving both your client and the court.”

Slaughter is not shy about giving credit to Hillary Clinton. “I loved working for her while she was Secretary of State. Because she gave me the opportunity to try to elevate development on par with diplomacy at the heart of American foreign policy.”

She finds it ironic that she is better known for writing an article for the Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” which quickly became the most-read article in the history of the magazine, than for her high-level foreign policy job.

“Yes,” she said, “I am better known for leaving a high foreign policy job to go home to my family than I ever did in my foreign policy career.”

Shatz is a Williamsburg resident. He is the author of “Reports from a Distant Place,” the compilation of his selected columns, The book is available at the Bruton Parish Shop and

Want to go?

Slaughter’s talk will be at 5:30 p.m. March 22 at the Integrated Science Center, 540 Landrum Drive, Room 1127. The event is free and open to the public.

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