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Sheehan Moderates National Geographic TV Film Premiere on ISIS in Washington, D.C.

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FILM PREMIERE | Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS | National Geographic Channel

On June 6, 2017, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan – Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – served as the Moderator for the National Geographic Channel premiere of Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS in Washington, D.C. The documentary – by Academy-Award nominated filmmaker and New York Times #1 best-selling author Sebastian Junger and Emmy award winner Nick Quested – traces the origins of the Syrian crisis and the rise of Islamic State.

Learn more http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/hell-on-earth/

Time Magazine notes that the film “traces how the bloody crackdown on youth dissent in March 2011 metastasized into the intractable conflict that today has left an estimated 500,000 dead and millions uprooted.”

“Syria became a civil war in response to the violence of the government; eventually Iran got involved through Hezbollah to support the Assad regime. The Kurds got involved. Turkey got involved. The Arab Gulf states got involved. Eventually all the world powers and all the regional powers had some investment in the war in Syria and in many cases were actively involved in the fighting.” 

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria & the Rise of ISIS – which featured at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival has been screened to wide acclaim by critics and audiences around the world – debuts on National Geographic Channel on Sunday, 11 June at 9 PM EST.

About the Film Co-Directors:

Sebastian Junger is an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of books including War and Tribe. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, one of the world’s premiere documentary brands. He has earned two Emmys for his work.

This is the second film premiere for which Dr. Sheehan has been commissioned by National Geographic Channel. To contact him with media inquries or book him for special events, please visit

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations & Conflict Management and Global Affairs & Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore. For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him at @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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SHEEHAN | Iran’s Assault on Academic Freedom | The Hill | Op-Ed |

Posted in 9-11, academic freedom, advisory board, Al Jazeera, american political science association, analysis, APSA, authoritarian, Ayatollah Khomeini, baghdad, bipartisan, CIA, civil liberties, civil unrest, college of public affairs, congress, counterterrorism, debate, Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom, democracy, democrat, diplomacy, dissident, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, education, european union, foreign policy, foreign policy analysis, freedom, fundamentalism, global, human rights, human security, international order, international relations, international studies association, iran, iranian revolution, iraq, irgc, ISA, ISIS, israel, Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Joint Statement on the Right to Education and Academic Freedom in Iran, leadership, media, middle east, obama, policy, political repression, political science, politics, Professor Ivan Sascha Sheehan, protest, regime change, regime change from within, republican, research, rouhani, scholarly, senate, senate foreign relations committee, sheehan, social science, state department, teaching, tehran, terror tagging, terrorism, the hill, think-tank, threat, turkey, U.N. General Assembly, u.s. foundation for liberty, united nations, unrest, white house, yemen with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2016 by Professor Sheehan

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SHEEHAN | Iran’s Assault on Academic Freedom | The Hill | Op-Ed | 11 September 2016

On the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan – Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – weighs in at the congressional newspaper The Hill to call attention to the importance of “Academic Freedom” and to highlight its importance to democratic discourse in the Middle East. Learn more about the valuable work undertaken by the US-based organization Scholars at Risk, a network of individuals and academic institutions that promotes the principles of academic freedom around the globe.

Excerpts via @TheHill: In totalitarian societies, power is maintained in part by the control of memory and reinvention of the past. While all societies promote a collective history, totalitarian states tend to advocate a single authorized version. In contemporary Iran, revolutionary ideology and memory itself has been reconstructed to erase any trace of the role of democratic-leaning students and academics in creating an official narrative that implies that the revolution was not about freedom or rights but only about Islamic identity. Recovering silenced accounts of the past has the potential to challenge dominant narratives and become a tool for advocates for change…

As the world pays tribute to the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it is important for U.S. officials to champion the freedom to think, write and teach freely and consider all of the implications this has for the development of tolerant and pluralistic societies. By supporting academic freedom as a universal commitment, U.S. leaders can make a small contribution toward a more democratic discourse in the Middle East and uphold a basic value too often taken for granted in the West. #PDF

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations & Conflict Management and Global Affairs & Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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SHEEHAN: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Oct 14

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SHEEHAN: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014 | Vol. 23, Issue 2

Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES); Copyright © Wiley / Policy Studies Organization; Fall 2014; Vol. 23, Issue 2; Pgs. 385-403

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is published in the fall 2014 issue of the Digest of Middle East Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Policy Studies Organization. Dr. Sheehan’s latest study — What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran — clarifies the contested concept of regime change from within via Tehran’s organized opposition and makes contributions to the concept’s formation to increase its policy relevance and classificatory significance.

Abstract: The use of the phrase “regime change from within” has surged in recent years in media, policy, and opposition discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. But what does “regime change from within” actually mean? Is it just a script to encourage the aspirations of a people, or can it be defined with more specificity? This article argues that to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, “regime change from within” needs to be better defined. To bring greater clarity to the term, the article tries to unpack the concept by disaggregating it into three analytically separable problem components: the “regime,” “change,” and “from within.” Drawing on the case of Iran, I argue that although most of the current debate around the concept is on the “from within” component, the definitional choices that need more discussion are the “regime” and “change” aspects of the phrase.

Excerpt | What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | F.14 | Vol. 23, Issue 2 –

[The concept of] ‘regime change from within’ has been employed for an array of very disparate processes — as a holder for democracy promotion efforts from outside a country as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside intervention, to highlight the need for radical change and more vaguely to call for continuous reform. But to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, a term needs to have some degree of specificity of meaning, some shared consensus. Otherwise, it just becomes a proverbial “you know it when you see it” concept that is difficult to distinguish from other types of political phenomena.

To address this gap and bring greater clarity to the concept, this article looks at some of the definitional choices that need to be addressed to come to a consensus on the meaning of “regime change from within.” Using the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I show how different decisions about what constitutes “regime change from within” could lead to very different conceptualizations in empirical cases…

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Sheehan to Speak at International Studies Association Conferences in 2014 & 2015

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at several international meetings organized by the International Studies Association in 2014 and 2015. In addition to delivering papers, Dr. Sheehan has also been asked to serve as a chair and discussant for panels on a range of topics related to his research. Panel I / Panel II / Panel III

2015 International Studies Association 56th Annual Convention
Global IR & Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for Int’l Studies
New Orleans, Louisiana / #PDF
February 18th – 21st, 2015

  • International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. “What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran.” At Panel on “Vying for regional supremacy in the Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Chair, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Networks, violence and non-state actors,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Discussant, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Effective Counterterrorism Strategies: Causes, Connections, and Innovations,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.

2014 International Studies Association Northeast Annual Conference
Concept & Conceptualization in International Relations
Baltimore, Maryland / #PDF
November 7th – 8th, 2014

  • International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Conflict and Healing. “Untangling the Concept of Regime Change from Within,” Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.
  • Chair/ Discussant, International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Terrorism, September 15, 2014, Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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SHEEHAN: Iran is the Real Middle East Threat | The Hill | Commentary

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Press Release -- International Affairs Professor: U.S. Must Keep an Eye on Iran

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SHEEHAN: Iran is the Real Middle East Threat | The Hill | Commentary

While presenting at the World Congress of Middle East Studies in Turkey on August 19, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan published an article in the congressional newspaper The Hill on Iraq, Iran, ISIS and the growing unrest on the Iraqi street. In the article, he questioned whether White House officials have a plan to counter the larger threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“…U.S. policy on Iran must ensure significant consequence for continued Iranian interference in Iraq. The failure to act against Assad by enforcing the red line in Syria or push back on Putin’s adventures in Ukraine diminished U.S. credibility and squandered valuable influence. But Congress can correct these missteps by insisting that the White House lean in on Iran by giving the ayatollahs a new problem to keep them busy.

Since Tehran fears internal threats more than external ones, U.S. legislators should embrace a policy of regime change from within via Iran’s organized opposition.

Obama’s declaration that there is no military solution to Iraq’s troubles and that a legitimate Iraqi government must be established is an accurate diagnosis insofar as it goes. But the intoxication resulting from a combination of U.S. impotence, Iranian interference, and Iraqi frustration will only lead to continued regional instability.

Solving the Iraq puzzle requires that U.S. officials double down on the real threat in the Middle East and increase the prospect of collapse in Tehran.” #PDF

You can learn more about Dr. Sheehan’s recent media appearances in a University of Baltimore press release.

Please also stay tuned for forthcoming publications in fall 2014 on topics related to regime change in Iran and suicide terrorism.

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Sheehan Presenting at 2014 World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies

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2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies / Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within / Panel on Democracy and Reform in Iran from a Historical Perspective / August 18-22, 2014 / Middle East Technical University (METU)

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to Ankara, Turkey to present at the 2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies (WOCMES) between August 18-22, 2014. The symposium will be held at Middle East Technical University (METU), one of Turkey’s leading universities. Dr. Sheehan is scheduled to present a paper titled Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within.

Presentation Abstract: The term “regime change from within” has become increasingly popular in opposition and policy discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It has also begun entering the academic literature. But what does it mean? Despite its increasing use “regime change from within” is rarely defined and scant scholarly attention to date has been paid to defining it. This is problematic since, as an “umbrella concept,” the term can be stretched to include a wide variety of discrepant processes. In fact, “regime change from within” has been used as a holder for democracy promotion efforts within a country that start both inside and outside a country, as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside support, to highlight the need for radical change, and more vaguely to call for “continuous” change or reform. This paper argues that coherent strategic policy demands better articulation of the meaning of the term. As a first step, the paper traces the evolution of use of the term “regime change from within,” tries to unpack its components, and develops a preliminary framework that partitions the concept into ends (vision) and means (strategy) to assess its utility for policy.

Stay tuned for two forthcoming articles by Dr. Sheehan:

SHEEHAN: What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014

SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | Under Review

More on Dr. Sheehan’s research can be found at the below links.

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