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European Union - The Light at the End of a Long, Long Tunnel

"The European Union is the world's first and only multinational democracy.  This is nothing short of remarkable," proclaimed the EU ambassador to America, John Bruton.  Mr. Bruton, along with a diverse panel of scholars, met at the Brookings Institution on June 11, 2009 to offer their predictions on the future of the EU in the wake of the recent parliamentary elections and economic crisis.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali calls for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations and current president of the Egyptian National Council on Human Rights, has called for the creation of a direct, democratic relationship between citizens of the world and the world's international institutions through the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, a goal that has long advocated. He stated that such an assembly is necessary for the strength and expansion of democracy, saying that, in this era of globalization, "democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization is not extended to the system of international governance as well.

He also expressed the urgency of this issue, noting the abundance of "problems which can only be solved effectively at the global level" and the threat they pose to democracy. He cited economic concerns at the top of the list.

"The last time an economic crisis of such magnitude occurred, it ... contributed to the rise of fascism, the outbreak of the Second World War, and genocide," Mr. Boutros-Ghali remarked. "During the current global economic crisis, we should not turn a blind eye to this lesson."

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Foreign Relations Authorization Bill Passed by House

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY2010 was voted on yesterday (June 10) in the House of Representatives. The Bill passed successfully by a vote of 235 to 187. Through a mass "vote alert" to foreign policy staffers on the Hill, helped to successfully defeat an amendment aimed at limiting United States funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This was not the only victory of the day as the House passed several amendments dealing with human and women's rights in Afghanistan, the elimination of the use of child soldiers, and the establishment of a Global Clean Energy Exchange Program.

This Bill is a huge step forward for the United States in terms of international diplomacy. In addition to the important language on repaying our dues to the United Nations and other international organizations, these extra amendments are steps forward for the United States' human rights and environmental policy agendas. applauds the House for passing this Bill, and hope to see this positive foreign policy trend continue in the Senate Authorization Bill that should be released soon.

Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Speaks on Country's Future

On June 10th, 2009, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Rafe' Al-'Eissawi, in a discussion on Iraq's future following the

Deputy Prime Minister of Iraqphased withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

Open Letter to President Obama for World Ocean's Day: The Law of the Sea - Why Now?

Dear President Obama,

I write to you to urge you to inaugurate World Oceans Day on June 8th by taking leadership and speaking out in support of U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The first ever World Oceans Day will focus global attention on the challenges facing our oceans. This day provides you with the ideal moment both to demonstrate American environmental leadership and to promote our country's security and economic interests.

You have already indicated support for the Law of the Sea convention and your State Department has listed it on the Treaty Priority List for the 111th Congress. The question is not "if", but "when" you will urge the Senate to take action. At this moment we finally have the right Congress, certainly the right President, and broad support across all of the relevant sectors of our society. I believe now is the time for you to engage.

Joining the Law of the Sea convention, widely supported on both sides of the aisle, would, to use your words, advance "the long tradition of bipartisan foreign policy that has been the hallmark of America...." The United States has not joined a major multilateral treaty since the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. Ratification of the Law of the Sea will demonstrate U.S. commitment to working cooperatively with the international community and prepare the ground for ratification of other important treaties, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination in All Forms Against Women.

As you well know, the Law of the Sea convention has been endorsed by prominent leaders ranging from former President George W. Bush and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and by organizations ranging from the American Petroleum Institute to the World Wildlife Fund.

President Obama Speaks in Cairo Regarding Nuclear Weapons

President Obama this morning gave a historic speech in Cairo where he outlined his vision for coexistence between the United States and the Muslim world, emphasizing their common history and future.

CGS Twitter has added Twitter to our list of media outlets. In addition to finding out about the latest news on our Facebook group or fan page or our MySpace people who are interested in our issues can now find out what we're doing on our Twitter. By following us you can get a short briefing on what we've been doing. We will be posting mini blog posts about the things we're working on every day or so. Follow us to increase awareness about the issues we care about. Hopefully this outlet will increase our ability to reach out to people all over the country.

My Experience at CGS

My experience at was definitely an educational one. Discovering how a non-profit works and conducts itself has changed the way I see how laws and regulations are passed through government.

While at CGS, I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to focus on. The atmosphere within the office was very supportive and allowed me to feel free to go about my business as usual while contributing to our causes. Staff members were always encouraging me to attend Congressional hearings or think tank discussions, an opportunity of which I took full advantage and thus gained considerable knowledge on how Washington D.C. and politics works.

During my time here at CGS, my topic of choice was Climate Change. It is something that has always been a concern of mine and when the subject was available for updating, due to the upcoming Copenhagen meetings this December, I took the chance to do as much research as I could on the topic. This, in turn, helped not only our cause, but allowed me to walk away from this experience more educated and passionate than ever before.

The staff at the office are friendly and always willing to help. Each person at CGS seems to truly want to make a change in the world and are obviously trying to do something about it.

U.S. and Russia Begin Second Round of START Talks

In Geneva, Switzerland today, the United States and Russia began a three-day series of talks to continue negotiating the terms for renewing the soon-to-expire Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). START was agreed upon by both nations in 1991 in an effort to significantly reduce the nations' nuclear stockpiles and is set to expire on December 5th of this year.

While the two countries have suffered a strained relationship over the past several years, President Barack Obama said in his first press conference:

What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally. I think that it's important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this....I've mentioned this in conversations with the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev, to let him know that it is important for us to restart the conversations about how we can start reducing our nuclear arsenals in an effective way.

Now, for the purpose of renewing this treaty, we need to wait and see if the United States and Russia can get past their respective hang-ups regarding North Korean nukes and the planned U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe.