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Council on Foreign Relations Educators Bulletin
Resources for the Academic Community

April 2013

New CFR Book Brings Attention to Mexico's Prosperous Path

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In Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead, CFR's Shannon K. O'Neil discusses Mexico's political, economic, and social transformation, and the implications for U.S.-Mexico relations. While the U.S. public perception of Mexico is influenced by security threats, Dr. O'Neil urges recognition of the country's significant growth towards a thriving middle class and globally competitive economic system. Adopt this book for your class and discuss with students the best policies for the United States to forge a strengthened relationship with its southern neighbor. Read an Excerpt and Order the Book >>


New CFR Resource Grades International Performance in Mitigating Global Threats

CFR's new Global Governance Report Cards evaluate multilateral cooperation in addressing six global challenges: nuclear proliferation, terrorism, climate change, violent conflict, financial instability, and global health. These grades, based on an assessment by experts from CFR and other institutions, offer a concise summary of international responses to critical issues, and include thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these efforts. Working from the dedicated section on U.S. performance and leadership, ask students to choose a topic and write a set of recommendations for how the United States could improve its grade. Explore the Report Card »

Expanding the Capabilities of U.S. Special Operations Forces

In this new report, Linda Robinson, senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, lays out a comprehensive roadmap for reforms that will improve the ability of U.S. special operations forces to meet changing U.S. military objectives. She argues for a model that will allow special operations forces to achieve sustainable solutions, improved security, and stronger global partnerships. Have students write a policy memo supporting one of Ms. Robinson's recommendations. Download the Report »

In the Classroom: Stacy Closson

Stacy Closson, distinguished visiting professor at the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, uses CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick's Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security in her graduate course "Weak States and International Security." Students refer to Dr. Patrick's criteria for defining fragile states and creating benchmarks that evaluate national security threats to identify a weak state, conduct research, present their findings, and write a case study. Dr. Closson finds Weak States important for students who may become future policymakers in that it "offers a critique of the assumption that weak states are the primary source of threats to global security, but rather are part of a global chain of states and actors."


"This Could Be How Pandemics Begin"

Do the bird flu cases in China represent the beginning of a global pandemic? Assign students this op-ed by CFR's Laurie Garrett and ask them to submit their thoughts on a class discussion board on how the international community should respond to the outbreak of H7N9. Read the Article »

China, India, and Global Health Governance

Use this report by CFR's Yanzhong Huang to analyze with students how China's participation in global health governance may affect the country's ability to address a rising potential health crisis. Download the Report »


Understanding Syria's Conflict and the Global Response

Share this Backgrounder with students to provide them with a comprehensive overview of the situation in Syria, the response of the international community, and the policy options going forward. Explore the Backgrounder »

"A Problem That Has No Answer"

In this blog post, CFR's Steven A. Cook outlines the challenges of U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war. Encourage students to post a response with their analysis of the best course of action for the United States to take based on Dr. Cook's assessment of the options. Join the Conversation »

Secretary Kerry on Assistance to Syria

CFR offers a selection of primary source materials. Direct students to the transcript of Secretary Kerry's February press conference on the United States' commitment to humanitarian aid for Syria, and have them write additional questions they would ask him. Review Secretary Kerry's Remarks »


The links below allow you special access to subscribers-only articles from Foreign Affairs.

"Beyond the Pivot"

Kevin Rudd, former prime minister and foreign minister of Australia, calls for the United States and China to develop a framework for a deepened, institutionalized relationship. Have students role-play a meeting between members of the Obama administration where they discuss the best strategy for developing this alliance.

"Breaking Up Is Not Hard to Do"

Husain Haqqani, professor of international relations at Boston University, argues that the U.S.-Pakistan partnership does not yield significant benefit for either country, and need not be preserved. Assign students to write a paper with a counterargument in favor of strengthened U.S.-Pakistan relations.



About CFR

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

About CFR's Academic Outreach Initiative

CFR is committed to serving as a resource for the academic community and encouraging students from all disciplines to consider how international issues shape their own lives and the lives of others across the globe. As part of these efforts, the CFR Academic Outreach Initiative provides a forum for educators and students to interact with CFR experts and join the debate on foreign policy. CFR offers a vast array of research and multimedia tools, developed by leading scholars and practitioners, for teaching and learning about international relations and the role of the United States in the world. For more information, please contact


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