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West Philly HS Greek Event, SIR IR Honor Society Journal Launch, Fair Trade Fair, Sustainability Booth for Earth Day Credit: Mordechai Treiger

As other seniors’ last days at Penn wind down, Becca Balis and her editorial board launched the publication of the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations’ 12th volume.

The launch, which took place at Irvine Auditorium Thursday afternoon, was the first time the International Relations Program officially celebrated the publication. In previous years, the journal was distributed closer to Commencement.

The journal is published by the Sigma Iota Rho National Honor Society for International Studies. Penn professor and Co-Director of the IR Program Frank Plantan heads over 70 chapters as the society’s National Director.

This year, the journal published nine research essays written by students from schools with Sigma Iota Rho chapters like Penn, Tufts University and the University of Wisconsin. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, contributed an excerpt of his forthcoming book, War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars, as a feature article.

Balis, a College senior majoring in IR and history, described Haass as a “must-know for every international relations student,” adding that she was thrilled to be able to work with him for the journal.

“At our first editorial meeting last fall, we wrote a list of people we hoped to have as our journal’s headliners, and Dr. Haass was high on the list,” she said. “As both a practitioner in the field and an academic, he is very applicable to the journal’s targeted readers.”

The editor-in-chief also met with Foreign Affairs’ managing editor Gideon Rose, whom she said “had a bearing on the way the journal was modeled.”

“We wanted to improve and make it as professional as we could,” Balis said.

Haass is not the only high-profile individual who has contributed to the journal. World Bank president Robert Zoellick and former U.S. ambassador to Singapore Franklin L. Lavin contributed articles to the last two annual journals.

Balis credited the IR department’s “well-connected network” for giving her team the opportunity to work with Haass.

“The department has been invaluable in helping its students pursue opportunities to meet practitioners with work experience,” she added.

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