Sameer Lalwani Appointed Director, Elizabeth Threlkeld Deputy Director of Growing South Asia Program

September 5, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Audel Shokohzadeh, [email protected], 202-478-3419
September 5, 2018

Washington, DC – The Stimson Center announces today that Sameer Lalwani has been appointed as the Director of the Stimson Center’s South Asia program and Elizabeth Threlkeld its Deputy Director. The program seeks to both study and bolster strategic stability in Southern Asia, researching the causes and consequences of instability in the region to inform key audiences seeking the region’s peace and security. It also aims to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia by providing innovative analysis of important trends, promoting confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures, fostering a new generation of strategic analysts, and promoting constructive U.S. foreign policy initiatives in the region.

“The South Asia program occupies a special place at Stimson. It was one of the first programs that our co-founder, Michael Krepon, established, and one he directed for decades” said Stimson Center President and CEO Brian Finlay. “Sameer’s enterprising, forward-thinking approach will advance that tradition of innovative analysis in one of the most consequential geopolitical spaces. I could not be more pleased to make this announcement.”

Michael Krepon will continue to work with the South Asia program and the Center as a Distinguished Fellow and Co-Founder. Krepon co-founded the Stimson Center in 1989 and dedicated himself to research nuclear dangers and advance nuclear risk reduction. He is the author and editor of twenty-one books, most recently The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVS: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age. “We are thankful for Michael’s leadership through the years. I know I speak for the entire organization and generations of analysts when I say that we have learned a great deal for him and look forward to his continued mentorship and analysis,” said Finlay.

“This is the easiest baton pass of my professional life,” said Michael Krepon. “Sameer is an immense talent. He is an extraordinary public policy entrepreneur, combining academic rigor with cutting-edge policy analysis. Stimson’s South Asia program couldn’t be in better hands. I look forward to continuing to work with him and the team.”

Lalwani has been with the Center for three years. He has also been an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs, a Contributing Editor to War on the Rocks, and was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the RAND Corporation. He completed his Ph.D. in MIT’s Department of Political Science, where he was an affiliate of its Security Studies Program.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the talented team of researchers at Stimson to put forward incisive research and pragmatic approaches to Asia’s security challenges,” said Lalwani. “Continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, an escalating arms competition between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, deepening Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific, and a burgeoning U.S.-India relationship marked by the upcoming 2+2 dialogue, all serve as reminders that U.S. policymakers and analysts will depend on dispassionate research and analysis of South Asia’s risks, challenges, and opportunities.”

One of Lalwani’s first acts was to appoint Elizabeth Threlkeld as a Fellow and Deputy Director of the South Asia Program. Threlkeld joins the Center after serving as a decorated Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of States in Islamabad and Peshawar, Pakistan, and Monterrey, Mexico. Proficient in Pashto, Spanish, and Mandarin, Threlkeld completed an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and has also worked in Iraqi Kurdistan and with the Center for New American Security.

“I could not be more pleased to join an organization with such a commitment to innovation and scholarship,” said Threlkeld. “I look forward to working with Brian, Sameer, and the entire Stimson team and continuing the long tradition of fostering rising talent amongst South Asian analysts, and developing pragmatic approaches to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia.”

Additionally, Polly Nayak and David Smith join the South Asia Program as Distinguished Fellows. Polly Nayak is a longtime South Asia expert, and was the Intelligence Community’s most senior expert and manager on South Asia from 1995-2001. Colonel David Smith served for over thirty-one years in active duty service in the U.S. Army, including twice as U.S. Defense Attaché in Pakistan. He also served as the Senior Country Director for Pakistan in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) in the Department of Defense.

“Polly and Dave have worked closely with the Stimson Center over the past decade conducting research and providing strategic guidance, and it is a privilege to have them officially join the Center and the South Asia Program,” said Lalwani.

The South Asia program also announces today the inaugural class of its Junior Fellowship program. The Fellowship will provide recent graduates with a year-long placement at Stimson to support the South Asia Program’s policy initiatives, programming, and scholarly research on the region.

“The Fellowship is a great opportunity for young people aspiring to work on consequential international security issues to acquire valuable skills and experience in a demanding, stimulating environment,” said Threlkeld.

To learn more about developments within the South Asia program, visit their program page  here.
 
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The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center working to protect people, preserve the planet, and promote security and prosperity.

South Asian Voices (SAV) is an online policy platform for strategic analysis on South Asia. Hosted by the Stimson Center, SAV seeks to encourage rising policy analysts and academics from the region to engage in thoughtful, substantive inquiry and free-flowing debates on South Asia’s security, political, and economic affairs. SAV will be celebrating its 5th year of operation this month. Learn more about SAV here.

Nuclear Learning is an online initiative produced by the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program to sharpen analysts’ and students’ understanding of strategic dynamics including nuclear programs, doctrines, and postures in South Asia and beyond. Nuclear Learning pursues this mission by making diverse viewpoints accessible via open online courses, nurturing vibrant communities of “nuclear learners” on social media, and providing opportunities for students to engage with experts in the field. Learn more about Nuclear Learning here.

Investigating Crises: South Asia’s Lessons, Evolving Dynamics, and Trajectories, edited by Sameer Lalwani and Hannah Haegeland, is the lastest Stimson South Asia Program edited volume. Published in 2018, it utilizes close empirical study of crisis behavior to better understand the causal processes, patterns, and lessons extracted from previous crises on the subcontinent. In ten chapters, authors from China, India, Pakistan, and the United States assess South Asian crises from 1987-2017 and consider implications for the future of crisis management on the subcontinent. Read the full volume and past Stimson research on crisis management here.

Southern (Dis)Comfort, a series curated by War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center, seeks to unpack the dynamics of intensifying competition — military, economic, diplomatic — in Southern Asia, principally between China, India, Pakistan, and the United States. Read pieces from the series here.

The Off Ramps Initiative is a project of the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program that examines the escalating nuclear competition among China, India and Pakistan in the context of a growing regional arms race. Off Ramps features analysis from rising and veteran talent in the field offering creative ideas to ameliorate and decelerate this dangerous triangular nuclear competition. Read the essays here.