CFR Academic

Academic Program

Overview

CFR Academic provides a forum for the educational community to interact with CFR experts and join the debate on foreign policy. Activities include the Academic Webinar series for students; Higher Education Webinar series; College and University Educators Workshops; briefings for students; exhibitions and events at conferences across the country; livestreaming of CFR meetings; and sharing the vast array of CFR resources and products for teaching and learning about international relations and the role of the United States in the world.

Academic Webinars for Students

Reserved for college and university educators and students, the CFR Academic Webinar series via Zoom provides the opportunity to participate in an interactive conversation with CFR fellows, Foreign Affairs authors, or other experts. Webinars take place every other week during the fall and spring semesters, and are dedicated to a wide range of international affairs and U.S. foreign policy topics. Suggested background readings are distributed prior to each webinar, and video recordings and transcripts are posted to CFR.org after the fact.

View the Winter/Spring 2023 Academic Webinar schedule. To sign up or ask questions about the series, please email [email protected]. You may also subscribe to the CFR Academic podcast via iTunes.

Past Academic Webinars

Ukraine

Liana Fix, fellow for Europe at CFR, leads the conversation on the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to the first session of the Winter/Spring 2023 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Liana Fix with us to talk about the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine. Dr. Fix is a fellow for Europe at CFR. She is a historian and political scientist, with expertise in German and European foreign and security policy, European security, transatlantic relations, Russia and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Fix was program director for international affairs at Körber-Stiftung in Berlin. She has also served as a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, and the Robert Bosch Foundation Multilateral Dialogues. And from 2014 to 2016, Dr. Fix was the a doctoral fellow at the German Institute for International Security Affairs and associate fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of A New German Power? Germany’s Role in European Russia Policy, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan. So, Liana, thank you very much for being with us today. We are about a month shy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Can you begin by giving us context on where things stand in Ukraine, and talk about the global ramifications of this war in Ukraine that Russia has mounted? FIX: Thank you so much, Irina. Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this Academic Webinar and to lead this webinar just really at a very good time, just short of the one year—the tragic one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And what I would like to discuss today, and perhaps to offer also as some input for the discussion, three questions. First of all, looking back at the last year, at what have we actually learned from the last year and from the war in Ukraine, that we would not have known before, and a lesson that we should take with us for the future. The other second point is what can we actually expect for this year? What can we expect for the second year of the war? And then the third question, what are the global ramifications and how will they continue to affect beyond the war in Ukraine in this year? So coming to the first point, and that is the lesson learned from the war so far, and from the last year. I have one lesson learned to offer, which seems to me to be the most important one because it summarizes many other surprises and lessons learned that we had throughout the last year. And this lesson is the fallacy of linear thinking. And what do I mean by that? I mean by that, that throughout the war we have continued to think in the moment from where we stood and where we were. So the first example is perhaps the most obvious one, the assumption that a Russian attack on Ukraine would immediately result in Moscow’s military victory. And even after Russia’s defeat in the Battle of Kyiv, it took months for policymakers and analysts to internalize that Russia’s initial failures in this war were not only a temporary setback, but that Russia is actually on the losing side in this war. The second example that explains why we always continue to fall for this fallacy of linear thinking is the prediction of a stalemate that we hear again and again, and that we heard very often in the last year, often with a comparison of the First World War, the concern that we would end up in a trench warfare between Ukraine and Russia back in their relative positions. This prediction has, in the last year, repeatedly been refuted by Ukrainian counteroffensives. And it is also not what we should expect for the next year. Just because we now have a period of one or two months when things seem to be a little bit slower, it would be a fallacy of linear thinking to assume that this is how the war will continue to take place in this year. So actually, right now, both sides are preparing for the spring counteroffensives. And those don’t have to be as successful as we have seen in the past, but we do see a very dynamic battlefield development, which suggests that this war is actually more likely to produce surprises instead of continuities. And perhaps a third example of linear thinking, which I find particularly intriguing and interesting to think about, is that despite all kinds of speculations about domestic unrest in Russia, about regime destabilization, what kind of potential successes could we have to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, we most often continue to think that someone or something, some system following Vladimir Putin in power would be bound by his legacy and somewhat molded in his image. So the question comes up, would it be worse? Would it be better than Vladimir Putin? But in reality, we really don’t know how different what after Vladimir Putin comes it will be. And it would be wise to prepare for exactly the opposite scenarios than the ones we consider now. I have written three scenarios with my colleague Michael Kimmage for a piece in Foreign Affairs where we have offered a scenario of a Russian defeat after negotiations, a Russian defeat after escalation, and a Russian defeat after regime change. Those are only three options that we have analyzed, but they suggest that we should also not be overly optimistic for what comes afterwards. We will probably not see a golden age of stability and security just because Russia was defeated in Ukraine. But we can see, and we can expect in many regions of the world, especially in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia, a vacuum of power where other actors will move in and try to replace Russia’s role there, if Russia is defeated and its power and hold over its near neighborhood, as it’s often called, is crumbling. So that’s what I think we have learnt from the last year. Looking ahead for this year, what is it that we can expect? And there are many indications that suggest that 2023 may be a year where we will see decisive action in the war in Ukraine. The first, that was a surprise to many who thought that the West had some kind of war fatigue, especially the Europeans, after this tough winter with high energy prices, that we would end up in a stalemate in this war, is that we have an announcement of new heavy weapon deliveries to Ukraine coming from the United States, France, and Germany. And that is interesting, not only because for the first time we have light tanks that are sent to Ukraine, but it seems that there is a consensus in the West that decisive action is necessary to equip Ukraine with the material that it needs for a successful counteroffensive in the spring. And that prolongs, or can prolong, into an assumption that this war should not become a forever war, but that this war needs to end in 2023. Also, because 2024 will be a much more complicated year on a political level. We will have elections in the United States in 2024, which is perhaps the most important factor because the United States has been such a leader in this war so far. So elections and the instability that they might bring or, indeed, the uncertainty that elections in the United States might bring are a good reason why 2023 has to become a decisive year. We will also have elections in Ukraine in 2024, and some kind of elections, if they’re even worth calling it that way, in Russia in 2024. So again, 2023 really seems to be the year where decisive action should be taken. Can it be taken, and can it be taken successfully? That very much depends on two factors. The first is the Western support that Ukraine gets. The light tanks, the dozens of light tanks that have been announced now, will not be enough. Ukraine’s asking for hundreds of those models. And the second is obviously how will Russia react, and what are Russia’s plans for 2023? And we’ve seen some interesting changes. We’ve seen that Russia has brought again a change in the leadership structure of this war. General Surovikin, who was actually quite successful in leading the war in the last three months, or at least he had narrowed the gap between reality and what Vladimir Putin looks how this war looks like, has been—has been demoted to a position under General Gerasimov. So we do see that this—both the structures, but also the alliance of reporting on the Russian side have changed, which suggests that there’s just no plan that has worked so far, which explains why it is renewed again and again. And the other factor, from the Russian side, is the expectations that Russia will recruit another cohort of conscripts into this war. Three hundred thousand have been recruited in the first wave, and more are expected to come. So these two factors will impact what we will see in 2023 in this war. And now let me move on how this war will have global ramifications beyond Europe also in 2023. What have we seen in global ramifications in 2022? It was very clear that this war is not just a European regional war, but truly a war with global effects very clearly, because of the energy shock that we have seen. So energy wholesale prices have, in some parts, increased fifteenfold in Europe. Because of the economic slowdown that this war has caused, we actually had quite an optimistic outlook for 2022 because many countries were coming out of the pandemic with a hope of economic recovery. And then the war started. And the energy price shock led to an incredible high inflation rate for many countries, which is double digit in Europe, for example, which, again, contributes to a cost of living crisis in many parts of the world. And then, obviously, the impact of food shortages, the blockade of crucial Ukrainian grain transport, which has only been resolved through Turkish intervention, affects the Global South immensely. And we also see the role of China in this war, especially when it comes to the nuclear dimension, that the West felt compelled to ask China for some kind of help in deescalating Russia’s nuclear rhetoric. So while it is a war that is focused in Ukraine, we don’t see NATO involvement, it does have global impact and ramifications that extend beyond the war. So I think it’s very fair to argue that it is more than a regional European war, and it will remain more than a regional European war in this year. And I think I’ll leave it at that for the moment. FASKIANOS: Liana, thank you very much. That was terrific. We’re going to turn to all of you now for your questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) OK, so now let’s go to the group. And let’s see. Oh, good, we have—already have three raised hands. I’m going to start with Hamza Siddiqui. And excuse my pronunciation. You can correct me. (Laughs.) Q: Thank you. I’m Hamza Siddiqui. I’m a student at Minnesota State University in Mankato. I actually have two somewhat related questions. The first was that—do you agree that, according to—do you agree with some reports that there is apparently an internal power struggle that has broken out in Russia with the security services and the military on one side and the Wagner Group and Ramzan Kadyrov on the other side? And, secondly, in a scenario in which Putin does end up getting removed from power, is there any one individual within Russia who has the same amount of influence and power that Putin had, who would be able to fill in that power vacuum? Thank you. FIX: Thank you. I think those are two really excellent questions, and not that easy to answer. So the first, I think, you’ve described quite correctly the internal power struggle that we’ve seen. What is interesting is that the Russian president himself sort of knows about this power struggle. So we can only—we have no indication of what he thinks about the dispute between the traditional security forces, the defense ministry and the Russian Army, and this new not secret anymore group of Wagner and Prigozhin, who really have challenged the defense ministry and the Russian military leadership in the past. So they have allowed their soldiers to post videos basically insulting the leadership or the lack of success, criticizing them for their failures. And what the head of the Wagner Group has been doing very successfully is to be the one who has the pictures and the videos of himself in the trenches with the soldiers. That’s something that we don’t see from Vladimir Putin. He’s always detached in his—in his office in the Kremlin, or wherever he might be. So we do see that there was a fight to—for this role of the leader of this war in military affairs. It could be an indication that General Gerasimov has been put back in charge of the whole operation. That this is a weakening of the Wagner Group and Prigozhin, and of those paramilitary groups. But I think this is a dynamic that will go back and forth. What if Putin is removed from power? So what Putin has done very successfully in the years of his term is to replace any candidates that might be potential successors to himself. So the last wave of big changes that we’ve seen in the Russian administration were the introduction of so-called technocrats. So Putin has surrounded himself with technocrats that are successful, or meant to be successful, managers around him, but that don’t have the kind of political standing that would question his position. Dimitry Medvedev, who has already replaced Vladimir Putin once, has become a war hawk, sometimes with absurd commentaries on the war which might rule him out as a successor. But, again, the reasoning that Vladimir Putin has changed the constitution and allowed himself to stay in power until 2036 is, and he said that, because he does not want his elites to be distracted by these power struggles. So it’s really very difficult to see where this successor can come from and who it can be. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. I’m going to take the next question, written question, from Lucas McMillan from Lander University. How would you describe the ramifications for the European Union (EU) as an institutional body and in its future goals? FIX: I think that’s a multilayered question. So, for one, the European Union has become more geopolitical in its outlook. So when we see what the European Commission under the leadership of von der Leyen has done, it has been quite significant. And so the sanctions packages that have been agreed upon, the support for Ukrainian refugees. For the first time we have a peace facility, some kind of defense fund that European member states have set up to refund member states for the arms payments—the arms deliveries that they have given to Ukraine. So we do see that the European Union has become more geopolitical, has sort of pooled its power together in this war, and the instruments that it has available. But—and we also have to say that it has been relatively successful in managing the energy crisis so far. But what we don’t yet see is that the European Union really has stepped up in terms of defense policy. So when it comes to a new defense policy, it is very much NATO that has benefitted from this war, benefitted from increases in defense spending, and not the EU, which also tried to set up defense structures in the past. I mean, there’s always the question of, you know, how can this relationship between EU defense structures and NATO work at all? And it’s a difficult relationship. But we see that the EU as a geopolitical actor has been strengthened. But as a military actor, it is very much NATO that has been strengthened. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pam Chasek. Q: Hi. I hope you can hear me OK. I’m Pam Chasek. I’m a professor at Manhattan College in New York. FASKIANOS: Pam, you’re a little bit—can you get closer to the mic? You’re a little hard to hear. Q: Yeah. Sorry, I forgot my headphones today. (Laughs.) Can you hear me better now? FASKIANOS: Yes. And if you can repeat your affiliation, that would be fantastic. Q: Yes. Pam Chasek, Manhattan College in New York. While this may not be on everyone’s radar screens, the United Nations has become another front in this war. Not just the Security Council, but the Eastern European Regional Group has been unable to nominate members to leadership of various treaty bodies and other organizations within the UN. Russia has also rejected consensus on other members. And this is really hamstringing the work of these bodies. And I’m wondering if you’ve seen other diplomatic side effects of this war. FIX: Well, that’s a very interesting point that you mention. I think the UN has struggled in multiple dimensions when it comes to this war. I think one of the interesting diplomatic side effects is what we’ve seen in part in the voting results in the UN. So there’s really this struggle to isolate Russia as much as possible, but then on the other side this—the refusal of many countries in the Global South, like India, to outrightly condemn Russia as a sole instigator of this war, with the argument, well, this war is taking place in Europe. There were so many other wars that Europe was not paying attention to. So why should we now pay so much attention to this war? And I think this has resulted in an interesting—there’s been an interesting new category of in-between states that are sort of in-between this new competition, this new rivalry, between the West and Russia, but also somewhere between the West, Russia, and China. And these in-between states not only include India. We also see Serbia as some kind of in-between state. And to some extent within the European Union we also see Hungary as some kind of in-between state, that really is taking the EU hostage in many regards. And that is something which reminds of Cold War times, but has a different dynamic right now. And I do think we see this also in the voting behavior of the UN. So I think next to what you mentioned, as a very interesting development, that’s also something to look out for in the future. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to next to William Weeks, who wrote his question. Why don’t you just ask it and identify yourself please. Q: Sorry. My name is Will. I am from ASU in the History Department. And my question is—to Liana, it’s what do you believe is the level of cooperation and coordination between China and Russia? FIX: Yeah. That’s an excellent question. Well, there is this—there was this hope throughout this war that there might be a way to bring China on the Western side, and to really bring China to put pressure on Russia. And especially on this issue of the nuclear statement and sort of decreasing the nuclear tensions. There was a lot of hope in Europe, I would say, that China’s intervention, saying that, you know, nuclear threats are unacceptable, somehow signaled that China is trying to distance itself from Russia. And, I mean, it’s fair to say that the war definitely has not gone according to plan also from a Chinese perspective. And it’s fair to say that the war brings Russia in a position of even more dependence on China than Russia has been before. But I would be cautious this narrative of China is really distancing itself from Russia, and sort of the partnership—limitless partnership has been—has been damaged by this war. Because I do think Beijing is very skillful at analyzing what is needed in its specific relationships at the moment. And I think the analysis is that in its specific relationship with Europe, it is good to present yourself as distancing yourself from Russia, trying to use your leverage with Russia, because that’s what has upset the United States and Europe at the beginning of this war, that China seemed to be on Russia’s side. What happens behind the scenes on Russian-Chinese dialogue and interaction is on a completely different page. So we have not seen obvious weapons deliveries from China to Russia. I mean, there are rumors that those might have taken place, but not in any kind that have been obvious so far. And I think China is very careful with – if it supports Russia with weaponry, it’s very careful to probably not leave traces, to not impact the relationship with the West and with Europe. And that, again, the economic dependency. And that, Russia is definitely only sliding deeper into the dependence on China that was there in the past. And so I would say it is—it continues to be a close partnership. There continues to be a lot of exchanges between Russia and China. And I would not sort of too quickly buy this argument that China is trying to distance itself from Russia, that this is a genuine argument. I do think at the moment it’s a diplomacy from China towards Europe and the West. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Michael Oppenheimer, who has a raised hand. Q: I teach at NYU. I’m in complete agreement with you about the implausibility of stalemate. It surprises me how people that should know better, you know, continue to insist that there’s something inherently stalemated about this conflict. My question really relates to the longer term, beyond next year, and whether there’s sort of at the root of policy disagreements about how much we should support Ukraine, and how much risk we should take in providing offensive weapons. There’s a difference of opinion about the stakes in Ukraine. And that’s a question that’s not often made explicit, but I think there are some people who think that this is another local conflict, that we can survive without long-lasting damage to the international system. As against those who kind of see this as a 1930s-like, you know, kind of pivotal moment in international politics. What are your views on that? And what kind of policy consequences ensue if you take one or the other of those positions? FIX: Thank you. I think that’s a very correct analysis here. And I think the further away you move from Europe the more opinions do you get that this is, you know, just a regional war in Europe that, you know, just has to end, as far as possible. The closer you’re sort of—the nearer you are in Europe, the more it feels like a system-transforming war, which really changes the international order. And I think that two sort of consequences of both pathways going—(inaudible). If it’s a system-transforming war, then really Russia’s defeat is sort of a priority not only for Ukraine, but for the whole Western—for the whole international order. Which is fine to assume as an assumption, but the question then is what happens after Russia is defeated? Because the analogy that many draw to 1939 doesn’t work in 2022, because there’s just no way that Russia can be—or, Russian leadership can be changed in a way that German leadership was changed in 1945—“changed,” in quotation marks. So the question then becomes, even if Russia is defeated in Ukraine, how do we deal with the Russia that we have identified as a threat to our system? And how do we construct a future within Russia? Do we go back to containment? I think that’s the crucial question where there are no answers for. So there’s a lot of tactical thinking right now about the war, and how far to go, but less of a strategic thinking about what is Russia to us after this war, and how do we want to deal with it? And the other line of argument to take is, well, if it’s just a regional war, it sort of implicitly and—you know, we can survive this one—it implicitly assumes that there is some—or, there is no danger to the system as it is if Russia sort of retakes its old form as a Soviet—as a Soviet hegemon. It might affect Ukraine. It might affect Moldova at some point. It might affect Georgia. But it sort of assumes that after that, there would be a wall and Russia’s imperial expansionist drive would not expand further and would not dare to expand in any kind of NATO territory, even if Russia would then have moved closed to NATO territory. And that is a line that one can argue. But certainly the security—the military threat that a Russia poses that is closer to NATO’s borders, which has Ukraine under its control, which is threatening Moldova, would require in any way a rearmament of Europe not seen since Cold War times. So it might actually be the cheaper option to defeat Russia in Ukraine than to have Russia move closer to NATO, because then it really comes back to Cold War times defense spending and defense of Europe. And I think that’s why, apart from all the other normative reasons, that is just, for me, a logical consequence why giving Ukraine the opportunity to win against Russia is the cheaper and the better option for the West. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Rob Warren from the Anglo-American University in Prague. As by far the largest military donor in the conflict, what do you see as being the United States’ long-term goals? Is this simply an issue of Ukrainian sovereignty and European security? FIX: I think that’s an important part of the equation, containing Russia in Europe, containing the Russian threat in Europe. But I do think another dimension is also the signaling towards China. So for the United States not letting Russia win in Ukraine is an important signal towards China to suggest, well, this is not the pathway for authoritarian countries to go, and for just easily and quickly occupy another country. So I think for the U.S. it has this dual dimension, which it doesn’t necessarily have for Europeans. Europeans don’t really care about the signal that this war sends to China, because they don’t perceive China as the same kind of competitor as the United States perceives China. But for the United States, it’s a credibility question towards Russia, but also towards China. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question, a raised hand, from Autumn Hauge. Q: Hi. I’m Autumn Hauge, and I’m a student at Mankato State in Minnesota. And the question that I have—so, throughout history and today Russia has been known for their very large and strong military. But there has been evidence of Russia losing in this war against Ukraine. So my question is, what are some factors or reasons that you could elaborate that are causing the military—the Russian military to perform so poorly? Especially with Russia being one of the global superpowers today. FIX: Thank you. That’s a big question actually many had at the outbreak of the war, when they expected that Russia would just roll through Ukraine. And it’s a question very many military analysts ask themselves. So what did they—what did we get wrong? I think the first answer to that lies with the Russian military. So after the war in Georgia in 2008, Vladimir Putin started a military modernization of the Russian forces, which looked very good on paper but, as we know now, has changed less in the structures of the Russian Army than one would have thought. So in Georgia in 2008, the Russian Army was in a terrible state. But the modernization processes were also, because of corruption, not as successful as they were expected to be. The second argument which explains this is that the Russian Army just has never fought this kind of adversary that it now has in Ukraine. It was in Syria. It captured Crimea. But those were all operations on a different level. So in Crimea, there was almost no resistance. In Syria, it was mostly an air campaign not an occupation campaign. And then, I mean, Ukraine is a huge country. I mean, it’s incredibly big. And obviously the third element to that was wrong intelligence, which led to incredible losses of the Russian Army at the beginning. So this war was prepared like a black op—like black op intelligence operations, where mostly the intelligence services were providing the information, and not as a war which is conducted as—by the military leadership and by the defense ministry as the land war that it turned out to be. So I think these are the three elements that explain why Russia’s military is just not up to the task, and it never was, to occupy Ukraine in full. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Asher Cohen, who’s a master’s candidate at American University. If there is any negotiated cessation to the war, do you think Putin would look to frame this as a victory for Russia? If so, how? FIX: He will definitely try to do this. I mean, there’s just no other way how he could frame it. And I think what he hopes to do, and that’s what he has signaled in the past, is that he can tell the Russian people, look, historical Russia has expanded. We have these new Ukrainian regions as our part of Russia. So this war was a historical victory for us. So basically, make people forget that the initial objective of this war was to get Kyiv and to change the Ukrainian leadership. So make this more about territory and about the historic lands that Russia has regained. Then again, another narrative that has been used in the past is that if Russia would have fought this war just against Ukraine it would have won, but it’s fighting this war against NATO. And that’s why it is unfair, because NATO is sort of not coming in itself but it’s sending its own weaponries. And that’s why sort of Russia would have won a war against Ukraine proper, but cannot win a war against NATO, which is obviously not half true because it’s Ukrainians that are fighting there and have fought there at the beginning of the war, in the first weeks, when there was not a lot of NATO weaponry. But the other question for him, or the most important question in this negotiation solution for Ukraine is, is a negotiated solution for Russia just a break to buy time? Because where will this imperialist drive go? Why should it disappear? Why should Russia not try to, after a humiliating defeat, try to attack Ukraine again? So the question for Russia is how would a negotiated solution threaten regime stability? So Russia might lose this war, but Vladimir Putin might not be able to lose this war. And I think that’s a very crucial difference we should keep in mind. FASKIANOS: And just to follow on that, there’s a written question from Jill Dougherty of Georgetown University. Zelensky today at Davos said that Russia’s role in the world will be as a terrorist nation. Is that just a figure of speech? Or could it be true? You know, should there be war crimes tribunals, reparations, all of—all of that at the end of this? FIX: Yeah, this is a Ukrainian advocacy campaign to have Russia—to make Russia—to make Russia designated as a terrorist state. It’s a campaign that so far has not been successful in the United States and with the White House. It’s in Europe, in some corners, it has been picked up. If I’m not mistaken, the European Parliament has submitted a resolution on that question, should Russia be designated a terrorist state? I think what is more important is the question of what can be the right framework to prosecute Russian war crimes. And there, the German prime minister, for instance, has come out in favor of a tribunal of—an international tribunal, because the question really is where can this take place without a Russian veto right? And who should be—who should be represented there? And I think this aspect of accountability in the end, I mean, regardless of how it works out, is so important, just for the discussion, because it gives—it sends a signal that there is no impunity to other actors. That regardless of how this tribunal might look like, who might be in front of there, that it’s not outside of legal accountability, the kinds of war crimes that Russia has conducted. So I think discussing this at a high level is, for me, more important than designating Russia as a terrorist state. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Clemente Abrokwaa. You need to unmute yourself. There you go. Q: Thank you. Thank you very much. My name is Clemente Abrokwaa, Penn State University. And the—one question I wanted to ask has already been asked. (Laughs.) But the other question that I have is we’ve been hearing about Putin’s health. Today you read that, you know, he’s very sick. Tomorrow nobody talks about that. And I’m just wondering where the truth lies. And then a second question is, what if—this was at the beginning of your discussion—hoping that the war ends in this year. What if it doesn’t? What will be the scenario, especially for U.S. and NATO? What are they going to—what will they do? And what will be the impact on the rest of the world? FIX: Yeah. I think the health question I can easily answer it with what William Burns, CIA director, said. He’s probably too healthy for the world’s—good for the world’s sake. (Laughs.) So there’s little evidence that suggests anything to—one side or another. Which makes sense, that any health data of the Russian president are kept—are kept secret. What if the war doesn’t end in this year? I think it will be much more challenging to the domestic publics of both the United States and Europe to continue the kind of support for Ukraine that it now gets in that year. And I mean, just because of elections in the United States, which will make the United States very domestically focused. And in Europe, because at some point the costs of this war are also piling up. And so I think Ukraine’s very aware of that. And in the—what we might see if the war continues, if we see even Russian advances heading into next year, is that probably the calls for a negotiated solution, which might be a negotiated solution on Russian terms, will become louder. And that is something that I think Ukraine is very well aware of, and tries to prevent exactly with this kind of support, a new push that it now tries to give to the dynamic on the battlefield. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take a written question from Kazi Sazid at Hunter College. So while most of the conversation is on military aid, et cetera, something that’s of particular interest is rebuilding Ukraine. What issues, both policy and financial, do you see arise in rebuilding Ukrainian infrastructure? And he contrasts this to the Middle East, which that is still laying in tatters after the disastrous interventions there—Western interventions. FIX: Yes. It’s a very fair question. And I think rebuilding Ukraine is an opportunity, one has to say. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it will probably be a higher priority than rebuilding parts of the Middle East, just because it’s closer to Europe. And having a failed state which doesn’t work, which doesn’t have infrastructure, just next to its borders, next to the border of Poland, is just not—is difficult to accept both for economic reasons but also for normative reasons, for an entity like the European Union. So the question of rebuilding really is what kind of framework will guide the reconstruction efforts. So will it be a leadership effort by Europeans, by the United States? Will it be the G7 framework? What institution will take the leadership there? And the other question is who will pay most of the rebuilding costs? And there, we do see that the discussion, also here in Washington, DC, tends towards arguing that rebuilding Ukraine is really a European task, because the U.S. is contributing so much military aid to Ukraine that rebuilding it should be a task for the wealthy Europeans. And to some extent, it also makes sense because rebuilding Ukraine could be fit into the EU accession process for Ukraine, which is ongoing since Ukraine has been accepted as a candidate—as a candidate member for the European Union. So framing it in the context of the EU accession process also helps to add conditionality on certain elements of reconstruction and rebuilding that will help to support the rule of law and that will help to prevent corruption becoming an issue there. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’ll take the next raised hand from Michael Leong. Q: Hi, there. I’m a grad student at the University of Arizona. And I just have a question pertaining to China, because you touched on that earlier. I guess, how—what lengths do you think China will go to keep up this relationship it has with Russia, given Russia’s heavy economic dependency on it? And what would basically Russia turn to, should China decide not to support Russia? And, sorry, the other question I have—these are probably not related, or very distantly—with all the military support that the West has been providing Ukraine, you also mentioned the potential rearmament of Western Europe and NATO. How difficult would that be, given the amount of ordnance being sent to the front line? FIX: Yeah. On China, I think if China turns away from Russia, well, Russia has really little left, little political support, little economic support. So it would be a worst-case scenario. But I do think it’s very unlikely that China will do that because, from a Chinese perspective, having a dependent Russia on its side is just perfect. You know, you have another UN Security Council member, you have Russia with nuclear powers, which are actually matching those of the United States. So in sort of the greater picture of anti-Westernism that both Russia and China share, it absolutely makes sense, from a Chinese perspective, to have Russia close at its side, and to have Russia as a disruptive power in—sort of acting, ideally, in lockstep with China. And we’ve seen that before the outbreak of the war we had this meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping, where for the first time China adopted NATO talking points that Russia had in the past, and was criticizing NATO for its role in Europe, which was not happening before. And the trade of that for China is obviously Russia’s position on the Taiwan question, and in case of an escalation over Taiwan. On the question of rearmament and how is that possible, well, it’s a good question, especially as I’m looking at Germany, my home country. Because Germany right now realizes how difficult it is, actually, to spend the money. So it’s not only finding the money. I mean, there’s a real military threat perception right now in Europe, so not many citizens complain if defense spending goes up. But how do you quickly enough spend the money? So Germany, for instance, was promising that from this year on it would spend every year more than 2 percent on defense. It turns out, it has provided the money but the whole structures and processes to order new military equipment and to get it just takes so long that it will only spend 2025, probably, 2 percent on defense. So it’s not only the question of money, but it’s also the question of how do the industrial defense structures and the bureaucratic structures in NATO countries that were focused on peacetimes for so long work? And how can they be sped up to become perhaps not a war economy but at least more generic and flexible to react to the situation. For instance, the discussion about NATO battle tanks for Ukraine right now. The Germany industry said that they will need a year to get those battle tanks that they have right now in shape, and to send them to Ukraine. I mean, that’s way too long. And it’s a question that also the United States sees, with how to replenish its stockpiles with a production rate that is a peacetime production rate. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Tomas Castillo Bukakis. Oh, I think he might have lowered his hand. OK, so never mind. We’ve got so many questions. I’m going to go to Wim Weiwel of Lewis & Clark College: Is it realistic to think Ukraine can drive Russia out of eastern Ukraine? If not, under what conditions will Ukraine agree to negotiate and what would a resolution look like? FIX: Mmm hmm. If it’s realistic to drive Russia out of Ukraine? I mean, I think it very much depends on the—on the means that Ukraine is provided with. I mean, if Ukraine gets the means and the equipment that it needs, it’s definitely possible. There’s nothing that suggest it’s impossible, or that Russian troops are so good or so dominant that they cannot be driven out. I think the question of Crimea is a different question. Ukraine will certainly put pressure on Crimea, but Crimea has a different standing in Russia than the eastern parts of Ukraine that Russia tried to annex. Under which conditions—so, President Zelensky has laid out his conditions. And the main condition is that Russia has to withdraw from Ukrainian territory. Those conditions have changed throughout the war because there was a realization that this war is far from the Russian side not as a war with a negotiated outcome, but as a war of occupation and subjugation. I think we will come to the point where we can talk about conditions and negotiations once Ukraine has further advanced closer to the February lines, to the war—when the war started. And then, I think it really is a question of—the most difficult question will be the question of what kind of solution can be found for Crimea. Will Ukraine has to retake Crimea militarily? What kind of escalation concerns are coming with that? Or is there any kind of negotiated solution to be found over Crimea? I think this will be the main—can be the main stumbling block. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next—oops, sorry—to Karen Sokol. Q: Hi. Thanks so much. Karen Sokol. I’m a visiting fellow at Princeton this year. And thanks so much. I’m really learning a lot from this, and appreciate your insights. A lot of particularly international legal scholars are calling for the establishment of a court to try Putin, other Russian officials, for the crime of aggression, because of the loopholes that exist in the current Rome Statute. And this call is backed by the argument that this is basically essential—a necessary, but perhaps not sufficient, condition for restoring the global legal order. And I just wondered if you had thoughts about that position. FIX: I think it may—sort of the idea to call for a separate court instead of the International Criminal Court, I mean, is understandable because exactly of the limitations that Russian’s leader options there gives the International Criminal Court, and because of the—yeah, of just the—how blatantly and war of aggression this war has been. I think it’s a good question what the court at the end sort of—what is the main goal that it should have? Is it to strengthen the international legal order? Yes, this makes sense as an argument. From a Ukrainian perspective, it is certainly also to talk about reparations. I mean, this war and the destruction have just been immensely, immensely costly. And then the other question is it is also—and many people have this concern, comparison in mind—something that would sort of help to move on after this war, to have sort of the legal closing chapter to that. Many think of Milosevic and how he has been tried back then. I think it’s—from my perspective, I do think it’s an important pathway to go down and not to, as has been the case in Syria with so many activists, have gathered evidence, and where it has become so difficult to put this on trial, sometimes with courts in, for instance, Germany doing these prosecutions. I think it’s useful to have a central—a central mission and a place for that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next, try again with Tomas Castillo Bukakis. Q: Hello. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. Thank you. Q: Hi. Sorry. I had technical difficulties. Hi. I’m from USC. As more weaponry is being delivered to Ukraine, alongside with economic aid, and given the history of the U.S. and these European powers of being responsible when they’re engaging in proxy wars or supporting wars, what processes or regulations are being set in place so the weaponry don’t fall in the wrong hands currently or after the war ends, and to make sure the aid is delivered to the sectors that are required. FIX: I would perhaps not necessarily classify this war as a proxy war, because there was no interest whatsoever from the Western side to conduct this war at the beginning, to have Ukraine—a war in Ukraine as some kind of weakening of Russia. So I think it’s fair and it reflects Ukraine’s agency in this war to say that it’s not only about, you know, United States and Russia global supremacy, but this is really a war about Ukraine itself as a nation. And I think the question that you raised about what happens to the weaponry is very important. So due to the huge amount of weaponry that is sent, it’s obviously difficult to track everything. Ukrainians are quite aware of that, and they’re doing many efforts to give back to both the U.S. side and the European side as many information as possible about where the weapons are and where they continue to be sent. So there is a system in place from the Ukrainian side to track these weapons. And when it comes to the aid—sort of the financial aid that’s given to Ukraine, the concern there of corruption is something which has been—has been there. But what Ukraine has is a very active civil society, which also in the past has been very active on battling corruption. So that is one mechanism which helps. And so far we have not had any major cases of where we would have heard from Ukrainian civil society of embezzlement of corruption of funds. The other question really is what happens to these weapons after the war ends at some point. And Ukraine will continue to need weapons. So if this war ends, this will not be the end of Russia’s threat to Ukraine. So I do think these weapons will have to stay in Ukraine. And probably what is needed is an even closer system of tracking and following up on the weapons that we have now, once the immediate fighting has receded. FASKIANOS: I think—we have so many questions, I’m sorry that we can’t get to them all. But I want to end with a question—written question from William Harbert of the University of Pittsburgh. History doesn’t repeat but sometimes it echoes. What do you feel is the closest historical analogy to this war and its possible outcome? I appreciate none may exist, but I’m curious of your response. FIX: Yes, it’s always a difficulty with historical comparisons. I’m a historian myself, but I think so. (Laughs.) As I said before, I think the 1939 comparison to some extent holds true, in terms of, you know, how sudden it was of an attack and of an invasion. But then it becomes very difficult to continue this analogy for the ending of this war. What I think is another useful historical comparison is the Finnish-Soviet Winter War. So the war when Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union and bravely fought back this attack. It has a similar dynamic of this kind of David against Goliath that we’re seeing right now in Ukraine. No one expected Finland at the time to be successful. They were, because they were using such innovative methods. I mean, there are great pictures of the Winter War where you see Finns on skis and then white clothes sort of hiding in the woods among the snow to attack Soviet tanks back then. What happened in the first Winter War was that Finnish forces were able to push Soviet forces back, but then had to agree to a negotiated outcome where they lost 11 percent of their territory, because there was not enough international support coming out for Finland at that point. And that would obviously be a sad comparison to Ukraine, which I hope will not take place. But it’s certainly a possible comparison. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much, Liana Fix. FIX: Thank you! FASKIANOS: I hope—this has really been great. And just as a reminder, we did send out in advance of this discussion Dr. Fix’s Foreign Affairs article. It was in the January/February 2023 issue that she co-authored with Michael Kimmage. So if you haven’t had a chance to read it, I commend it to you all. So thank you, again, for being with us. And the next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 1, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And the conversation will be on energy, environment, and water. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out CFR fellowships for educators at CFR.org/fellowships. This is, of course, for your professors. Follow at @CFR_Academic on Twitter. And visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you again to all of you for being with us and to Dr. Fix for her time today. We appreciate it. FIX: Thank you so much. Thank you, everyone. FASKIANOS: Take care. (END)

Religion

Susan Hayward, associate director of the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, leads the conversation on religious literacy in international affairs.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to the final session of the Fall 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic if you would like to share it with your classmates or colleagues. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Susan Hayward with us to discuss religious literacy in international affairs. Reverend Hayward is the associate director for the Religious Literacy and Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School. From 2007 to 2021, she worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), with focus on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Columbia, and Iraq. And most recently serving as senior advisor for Religion and Inclusive Societies, and as a fellow in Religion and Public Life. During her tenure at USIP, Reverend Hayward also coordinated an initiative exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, partnership with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faith Development Dialogue. And she coedited a book on the topic entitled Women, Religion and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen. Reverend Hayward has also taught at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and serves as a regular guest lecturer and trainer at the Foreign Service Institute. And she’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. So, Susan, thank you very much for being with us today. Can you begin by explaining why religious literacy is so important for understanding international affairs? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Irina. And thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations for inviting me to be a part of this webinar. And I really appreciate you and the invitation, and I appreciate all of you who have joined us today, taking time out of what I know is a busy time of year, as we hurdle towards final exams and cramming everything into these last weeks of the semester. So it’s great to be with all of you. I am going to be—in answering that broad question that Irina offered, I’m going to be drawing on my work. As Irina said, I worked at the—I work now at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life Program. And what we seek to do here is to do here is to advance the public understanding of religion in service of a just world at peace. And we do that, in part, by working with professionals in governments and foreign policy, and in the humanitarian sector, as well as working with our students who are seeking to go into vocations in those professional spheres. And then my fourteen years with the Religion and Inclusive Societies Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. So I’ll say a little bit more about both of those as we go along, and those experiences, but I’m also happy to answer any questions about either of those programs when we turn to the Q&A. And I should say that I’m going to be focusing as well—given that a lot of you all who are joining us today are educators yourselves or are students—I’m going to be focusing in particular on how we teach religious literacy within international affairs. So I wanted to begin with the definition of religious literacy, because this is a term that is increasingly employed as part of a rallying cry that’s based on a particular diagnosis. And the diagnosis is that there has been insufficient deep consideration of the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs at all levels across the world. And that the result of that lack of a complex understanding of religion in this arena has been the—the hamstringing of the ability of the international system to operate in ways that are effective in bringing justice, peace, democracy, human rights, and development. So I’m going to circle back to that diagnosis in a bit. But first I want to jump to the prescription that’s offered, which is to enhance religious literacy using various resources, trainings, courses, and ways that are relevant for foreign policymakers and those working across the international system, as well as those students who are in the schools of international affairs, or other schools and planning to go into this space, into this profession. So the definition that we use here at Harvard Divinity School—and this is one that has been adopted by the American Academy of Religion, which is the scholarly guild for religious studies—defines it in this way: Religious literacy is the—entails the ability to discern and analyze the fundamental intersections of religion and social, political, and cultural life through multiple lenses. So specifically, one who is religious literate will possess a basic understanding of different religious traditions, including sort of fundamental beliefs and practices and contemporary manifestation of different religious traditions, as well as how they arose out of and continue to be shaped by particular social, historical, and cultural contexts. And the ability to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions across time and space. So this gets broken down in two different ways—three, according to me. But that definition focuses on two in particular. One is often referred to as the confessional approach or the substantive approach. So that’s looking at understanding different religious traditions and their manifestations in different places. That’s understanding something fundamental about the difference between Theravada Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism, for example. Or how Islam is practiced, and dominantly practiced in Nigeria, versus in North America, for example. The second approach is the religious studies approach. Which is sometimes also called the functional approach. So that’s the ability to be able to analyze the ways in which religions in complex ways are really intersecting with social, and political, and economic life, even if not explicitly so. But in implicit, embedded ways shaping different kinds of economic systems, social systems, and political systems, and being able to analyze and see that, and so ask particular questions and consider different kinds of policy solutions—diagnoses and solutions that can take that into account. And then finally, I add the religious engagement approach. That particularly comes out of my work when I was at USIP and working with foreign policymakers in the State Department and elsewhere. To some extent, overseas as well, those in the diplomatic sector. Which I understand is determining whether, when, and how to engage with specifically defined religious institutions, actors, and interests, including on issues related, for example, with religious freedom, in ways that are inclusive, just, strategic, and, importantly for the U.S. context, legal. So abiding by the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Now, all three types of religious literacy defined here depend on three principles or ideas. So the first is that they understand religions as lived, as constituted by humans who are constantly interpreting and reinterpreting their religious traditions. This means that as a result they are internally diverse, sometimes very internally contradictory. They’ll have different religious interpretations with respect to particular human rights issues, particular social issues, issues related to gender, and so on and so forth. That they change over time. That that sort of complex interpretive process that is going on within religious traditions also leads to kind of larger normative changes within religious traditions over history in different temporal contexts. And that they’re culturally embedded. So as the question I was asking earlier, how is Islam, as it’s understood and practiced in Nigeria, different from how it’s understood and practiced in North America, for example. There are ways in which the particular religious interpretations and practices of a tradition are always going to be entangled with specific cultural contexts in ways that are near impossible to disentangle at times. And that means that they just manifest differently in different places. And this—these ideas of religion as lived pushes against an understanding of religions as being static or being monolithic. So that then leads us to ensure that there’s never—that it’s always going to be a problem to make sweeping claims about entire religious traditions because you’ll always find somebody or some community within those religious traditions that don’t believe or practice according to the claim that you just made about it. And that applies to situations of violent conflict and with respect to human rights, on global issues like climate and migration. This idea, the internal diversity in particular, is what is at play when you hear the phrase “Ambivalence of the Sacred” that was coined by Scott Appleby in his—in this very influential book by the same name. I’ll throw in here a quote from Scott Appleby from that book, this idea that religions are always going to show up in ambivalent or contradictory ways across different places, but also sometimes in the very same contexts. So I think we can see that, for example, in the U.S. right now, and that there’s no one, let’s say, religious position with respect to reproductive rights, for example. There’s a great deal of internal plurality and ambivalence that exists across religious traditions and interpretations within the Christian tradition and beyond about that specific issue. Moreover then, what religion is, what is considered religious, what is recognized as religious and what isn’t, and how it manifests in different contexts depends on just a complex array of intersecting factors. I’m going to come back to—that’s kind of meaty phrase just to throw out there, so I’m going to come back to that in a minute. So the second principle or idea of religious literacy that I want to highlight here is the idea of right-sizing religion. This is a phrase that Peter Mandaville used quite a bit when he was in the State Department’s Religion and Global Affairs Office under the Obama administration and has written about. So I’ll turn you to that article of his to understand more about it. But the central idea is that we don’t want to over nor underemphasize religion’s role in any given context. So just by way of a quick example, in looking at the Rohingya crisis or the ethnic cleansing of Rakhine State in Myanmar, one could not say it was all about religion, that it was about Buddhist nationalists who are anti-Muslim wanting to destroy a particular religious community. Nor could you say it had nothing to do with religion, because there were these religious dimensions that were at play in driving the violence towards the Rohingya and the larger communities’ acceptance of that violence against the Rohingya community. But if you were to overemphasize the religious roles, the religious dimensions of that crisis, then your policy solutions—you might look at religious freedom tools and resources to be able to address the situation. And that would address the situation in part, but obviously there were other economic and political factors that were at play in leading to the Rohingya crisis. And including certain economic interests with oil pipelines that were being constructed across lands that the Rohingya were living on in Rakhine state, or the political conflict that was taking place between the military and the National League of Democracy, and so on. So addressing the crisis holistically and sustainably requires that we right-size the role that religion is playing in that particular crisis. And that goes across the board, in looking at conflicts and looking at the role of religion in climate, and addressing climate collapse, and so on and so forth. We need to always neither under nor overestimate the role that religion is playing in driving some of these issues and as a solution in addressing some of these issues. OK. So with that definition and principles of religious literacy in mind, I want to go back to the diagnosis that I gave at the—that I mentioned at the top, for which religious literacy is offered as a solution. The diagnosis, if you remember, was that there’s been insufficient consideration given to the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs. So I’m going to demonstrate what it means to apply the religious studies approach to religious literacy, or the functional approach to religious literacy, to help us understand why that might be. And remember, the religious studies approach is seeking to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions and understandings across time and place. So this approach, in trying to answer that question and consider that diagnosis, it would invite us to look historically at the development of the modern international legal and political systems in a particular time and place in Western Europe, during the European Enlightenment. As many of you may well know, this came about in the aftermath of the so-called confessional or religious wars. Those were largely understood to have pitted Protestants against Catholics, though it’s more complicated in reality. But broadly, that’s the story. And the modern state, on which the international system was built, sought to create a separation between religious and state authority. For the first time in European history, this separation between religious and state authority that became more rigid and enforced over time, in the belief that this was necessary in order to ensure peace and prosperity moving forward, to bring an end to these wars, and to ensure that the state would be better able to deal with the reality of increasing religious pluralism within Europe. So this was essentially the idea of secular political structures that was born in that time and place. And these secular political structures were considered to be areligious or neutral towards religion over time, again. In the process of legitimating this sort of revolutionary new model of the secular modern state, and in the process of creating this demarcated distinction that had not previously existed—at least, not a neat distinction of the secular or the political authority and the religious—the religious authority—there was an assertion as part of that ideologically legitimate and support that. There was an assertion of the secular as rational, ordered, and associated with all of the good stuff of modernity. Meanwhile, the religious was defined in counter-distinction as a threat to the secular. It was irrational, backwards, a threat to the emerging order. A not-subtle presumption in all of this is that the new modern state and the international system would serve as a bulwark against archaic, dangerous, religious, and other traditionally cultural, in particular, worldviews and practices in—it would be a bulwark against that, and a support for this neutral and considered universal international law and system—secular system. Now, I realize I’m making some, like, huge, broad historical sweeps here, given the short amount of time I have. But within that story I just told, there is a lot more complexity that one can dig into. But part of what I seek to do in offering religious literacy in international relations theory and practice to students, and to practitioners in this realm, is to help those operating in the system think through how that historically and contextually derived conception of religion and the co-constitutive conception of secularism continues to operate within and shape how we interpret and respond to global events within the system. And this occurs—I see this happening in two dominant ways. One is, first, in thinking about religion as a distinct sphere of life that can be disentangled entirely from the political, when in reality religion is deeply entangled with the political, and vice versa. And scholars like Talal Asad and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd have done really great work to show how even our understanding of the secular and secular norms and so on is shaped by Protestant Christian commitments and understandings. And saying within that, our understanding of what religion is—like, a focus on belief, for example, which has been codified in a lot of religious freedom law, as part of the international system—again, tends to emphasize Protestant Christian understandings of what religion is and how it functions. So that’s the first reason for doing that. And then second, in understanding religion to be a threat to modernity, and sometimes seeing and responding to it as such rather than taking into account its complexity, its ambivalence, the ways in which it has been a powerful force for good, and bad, and everything in between, and in ways that sometimes let the secular off the hook for ways that it has driven forms of violence, colonialism, gender injustice, global inequalities, the climate crisis, and so on. So those are the consequences of when we don’t have that religious literacy, of those potential pitfalls. And, on that second point, of the ways in which religion continues to be defined in ways that can overemphasize its negative aspect at time within the international system, I commend the work of William Cavanaugh in particular and his book, The Myth of Religious Violence to dig into that a little bit more. So what we’re seeking to do, in bringing that kind of religious literacy to even thinking about the international system and its norms and how it operates, is to raise the consciousness of what Donna Haraway calls the situatedness of the international system, the embedded agendas and assumptions that inevitably operate within it. And it invites students to be skeptical of any claims to the systems neutrality about religion, how it’s defined, and how it’s responded to. So I recognize that that approach is very deconstructionist work. It’s informed by, post-colonial critical theory, which reflects where religious studies has been for the last couple decades. But importantly, it doesn’t, nor shouldn’t ideally, lead students to what is sometimes referred to as analysis paralysis, when there’s sort of groundedness within hypercritical approaches, only looking at the complexity to a degree that it’s hard to understand how to move forward then to respond constructively to these concerns. Rather, the purpose is to ensure that they’re more conscious of these underlying embedded norms or assumptions so that they can better operate within the system in just ways, not reproducing forms of Eurocentrism, Christo-centrism, or forms of cultural harm. So the hope is that it helps students to be able to better critique the ways in in which religion and secularism is being—are being discussed, analyzed, or engaged within international affairs, and then be able to enter into those kinds of analysis, policymaking, program development, and so on, in ways that can help disrupt problematic assumptions and ensure that the work of religious literacy or religious engagement is just. So I’m just going to offer one example of how this kind of critical thinking and critical—the way of thinking complexly about religion in this space can be fruitful. And it speaks back to one of the things Irina noted about my biography, the work I had done looking at women and religion and peacebuilding. So while I was at USIP, in that program, we spent several years looking specifically and critically at forms of theory and practice, and this subfield that had emerged of religious peacebuilding. And we were looking at it through the lens of gender justice, asking how religion was being defined in the theory or engaged in the peacebuilding practice and policy in ways that unintentionally reinforced gender injustice. And what we found is that there were assumptions operating about certain authorities—often those at the top of institutions, which tended to be older, well-educated men—representing entire traditions. Assumptions made about their social and political power as well. When in reality, we knew that those of different genders, and ages, and socioeconomic locations were doing their own work of peacebuilding within these religious landscapes, and had different experiences of violence, and so different prescriptions for how to build peace. So we began to ask questions, like whose peace is being built in this field of religious peacebuilding that was emerging? And the work that USIP had been doing in this space of religious peacebuilding? Whose stories were being left out in the dominant analyses or narratives in the media about religious dimensions of certain conflicts, and what are the consequences of that? So these kinds of questions are grounded in the recognition of, again, the internal diversity, the change over time of religious traditions. And they help ensure that analysis and policy actions aren’t unintentionally reproducing forms of harm or structural violence. I’m almost done. So please do bring your questions so that we can engage in a discussion with each other. But I wanted to end by offering a couple examples of resources that I think might be helpful to both enhancing your own religious literacy but also as potential pedagogical tools in this work. So first is Religious Peacebuilding Action Guides that were produced by the U.S. Institute of Peace, in partnership with Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. There’s four guides. They’re all available for free online. Once I close down my PowerPoint, I’m going to throw the links for all of these things I’m mentioning into the chat box so you can all see it. But one of the things—I’m just going to dive in a little bit to the analysis guide, because one of the things that I think is useful in helping, again, to help us think a little bit more complexly about religion, is that it takes you through this process of thinking about the different dimensions of religion as defined here—ideas, community, institutions, symbols and practices, and spirituality. So it’s already moving beyond just an idea of religious institutions, for example. And it takes you through doing a conflict assessment, and asking the questions related to religion with respect to the drivers of the conflict and the geographic location and peacebuilding initiatives, to help you craft a peacebuilding—a religious peacebuilding initiative. I have used this framework as a means to help students think through the ambivalence of religion as it manifests in different places. So I have an example there of a question that I have sometimes used that has been fruitful in thinking about how these five different dimensions of religion have manifested in American history in ways that either have advanced forms of racialized violence and injustice or that have served as drivers of peace and justice. And there’s lots of examples across all of those dimensions of the ways in which religion has shown up in ambivalent ways in that respect. There’s also—USIP’s team has produced a lot of amazing things. So I’ll put some links to some of their other resources in there too, which includes they’re doing religious landscape mappings of conflict-affected states. They have an online course on religious engagement in peacebuilding that’s free to take. Another resource is from here, at Harvard Divinity School in the Religion in Public Life Program. And we provide a series of case studies that is for educators. It’s primarily created educators in secondary schools and in community colleges, but I think could easily be adapted and used in other kinds of four-year universities or other kinds of professional settings, where you’re doing trainings or workshops, or even just holding discussions on religious literacy. So there’s a series of kind of short, concise, but dense, case studies that are looking at different religions as they intersect with a host of issues, including peace, climate, human rights, gender issues. And it says something about that case study here—the example that I have here is the conflict in Myanmar, pre-coup, the conflicts that were occurring between religious communities, and particularly between Buddhist communities and Muslim communities. And then there’s a set of discussion questions there that really help to unearth some of those lessons about internal diversity and about the ways in which religious intersects with state policies and other kinds of power interests and agendas—political power interests and agendas. And then also, at our program, Religion and Public Life, we have a number of courses that are available online, one that’s more on the substantive religious literacy side, looking at different religious traditions through their scriptures. Another course, it’s on religion, conflict and peace, all of which are free and I’m going to throw them into the chat box in a moment. And we also have ongoing workshops for educators on religious literacy, a whole network with that. So you’re welcome to join that network if you’d like. And then finally, we have a one-year master’s of religion and public life program for people in professions—quote/unquote, “secular” professions—who want to come and think about—they’re encountering religion in various ways in their work in public health, or in their work in journalism. And so they want to come here for a year and to think deeply about that, and bring something back into their profession. And then the final thing, and then I’m going to be done, and this one is short, is the Transatlantic Policy for Religion and Diplomacy, which brings together point people from—who work on religion across different foreign ministries in North America and Europe. And their website, religionanddiplomacy.org, has a lot of really great resources that—reports on various thematic issues, but also looking at religion in situ in a number of different geographic locations. They have these strategic notes, that’s what I have the image of here, that talk about, at a particular time, what are some of the big stories related to religion and international affairs overseas. And they list a number of other religious literacy resources on their website as well. So I commend all of that to. And with that, let me stop share, throw some links into the chat box, and hear responses and questions from folks. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you for that. That was terrific. And we are going to send out—as a follow-up, we’ll send out a link to this webinar, maybe a link to your presentation, as well as the resources that you drop into the chat. So if you don’t get it here, you will have another bite at the apple, so to speak. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to the written question from Meredith Coon, who’s an undergraduate student at Lewis University: What would be a solution for India to have many different religions live in peace with each other, especially since most religions share a lot of the same core values of how people should live? And how can society prevent the weaponization of religion, while still allowing broad religious freedom? HAYWARD: All right. Thank you for the question, Meredith. And one thing just to note, by way of housekeeping, I’m not sure I can actually share the links with all of the participants. So we’ll make sure that you get all of those links in that follow-up note, as Irina said. So, Meredith, I think a couple things. One, I just want to note that one of the assumptions within your question itself is that folks of different religious persuasions are constantly at conflict with one another. And of course, there is a reality of there is increasing religious tensions around the world, communal tensions of many different sorts, ethnic, and religious, and racial, and so on, across the world. And the threat to democracy and increasing authoritarianism has sometimes exacerbated those kinds of tensions. But there’s also a lot of examples presently and historically of religiously incredibly diverse communities living in ways that are harmonious, that are just, and so on. So I think it is important—there’s a lot of work that supports forms of interfaith dialogue and intra-faith dialogue. And I think that that work is—will always be important, to be able to recognize shared values and shared commitments, and in order to acknowledge and develop respect and appreciation for differences as well on different topics—again, both within religious traditions and across them. But I think that dialogue alone, frankly, is not enough. Because so often these tensions and these conflicts are rooted in structural violence and discrimination and concerns, economic issues, and political issues, and so on. And so I think part of that work, it’s not just about building relationships kind of on a horizontal level, but also about ensuring that state policies and practice, economic policies and practices, and so on, are not operating in ways that disadvantage some groups over others, on a religious side, on a gender side, on a racial side, and so on. So it’s about ensuring as well inclusive societies and a sense as well of inclusive political systems and inclusive economic systems. And doing that work in kind of integrated ways is going to be critical for ensuring that we’re able to address some of these rising forms of violations of religious freedom. Thanks again for the question. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question from Clemente Abrokwaa. Clemente, do you want to ask your question? Associate teaching professor of African studies at Pennsylvania State University? I’m going to give you a moment, so we can hear some voices. Q: OK. Thank you very much. Yeah, my question is I’m wondering how peacebuilding, in terms of religious literacy, how would you look at—or, how does it look at those that are termed fundamentalists? How their actions and beliefs, especially their beliefs, those of us—there are those outside who perceive them as being destructive. So then to that person, is their beliefs are good. So they fight for, just like anyone will fight for, what, a freedom fighter or something, or a religious fighter in this case. So I’m just wondering how does religious literacy perceive that in terms of peacebuilding? HAYWARD: Right. Thank you for the question, Professor Abrokwaa. I really appreciate it. So a couple things. One, first of all, with respect to—just going back, again, to the ambivalence of the sacred—recognizing that that exists. That there are particular religious ideas, commitments, groups, practices that are used in order to fuel and legitimate forms of violence. And I use violence in a capacious understanding of it, that includes both direct forms of violence but also structural and cultural forms of violence, to use the framework of Johan Galtung. And so that needs to be addressed as part of the work to build peace, is recognizing religious and nonreligious practices and ideas that are driving those forms of violence. But when it comes to religious literacy to understand that, a couple ways in which the principles apply. One is, first, not assuming that their—that that is the only or exclusive religious interpretation. And I think sometimes well-meaning folks end up reifying this idea that that is the exclusive religious interpretation or understanding when they’re—when they’re offering sometimes purely nonreligious responses to it. And what I mean by this, for example, let’s look at Iran right now. I read some analyses where it’s saying that, the Iranian authorities and the Ayatollahs who comprise the Supreme Council and so on, that they—that they define what Islamic law is. And there’s not a qualification of that. And in the meantime, the protesters are sort of defined as, like, secular, or they’re not—the idea that they could be driven by certain—their own Islamic interpretations that are just as authoritative to them, and motivating them, and shaping them is critical. So being able to recognize the internal plurality and not unintentionally reify that particular interpretation of a religious tradition as exclusive or authoritative. Rather, it’s one interpretation of a religious tradition with particular consequences that are harmful for peace. And there are multiple other interpretations of that religious tradition that are operating within that context. And then a second way that the religious literacy would apply would also look at the ways in which sometimes the diagnoses of extremist groups that are operating within a religious frame doesn’t right-size the role of religion in that. It sometimes overemphasizes the religious commitments, and drives, and so on. And so, again, we need to right-size. There are religious motivations. And we need to take those seriously. And we need to develop solutions for addressing that. And there are economic interests. And there are political interests. So there’s a whole host of factors that are motivating and inspiring and legitimating those groups. And being able to take into account that more holistic picture and ensure that your responses to it are going to be holistic. And then one final thing I want to say that’s not with respect to religious literacy as much—or, maybe it is—but it’s more just about my experience of work at USIP, is that—and it kind of goes back to the question that Meredith asked before you about religious harmony between multireligious relations and harmony, is that I sometimes finds that engaging with groups that are defining themselves and motivating themselves with a primary grounding in religion, that they’re not going to participate generally in interfaith initiatives, and so on, right? And so that’s where some of that intra-faith work can be particularly important. I saw this, for example, in Myanmar, when their—when previously the movement that was known as Ma Ba Tha, which was defined by some as a Buddhist nationalist anti-Muslim kind of Buddhist supremacist group. The folks who were most successful in being able to engage in a values-grounded conversation with members of the organization were other Buddhist monks, who were able to speak within the language of meaning and to draw attention to, like, different understandings of religious teachings or religious principles with respect to responding to minority groups, and so on. So I think that’s in particular, with addressing those groups, that’s where that intra-religious work or intra-communal work can be really critical, in addition to some of that cross-communal work. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So we’ve seen, obviously, the war in Ukraine and how Christian Orthodoxy is being—or, Greek Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and the division. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it’s playing out with Russian identity? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been some really good analysis and work out there of the religious dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. So again, the sort of dominant story that you see, which reflects a reality, is that there are ways in which political and religious actors and interests are aligning on the Russian side in order to advance particular narratives and that legitimate the invasion of Ukraine that—that are about sort of fighting back against an understanding of the West as being counter to traditional and religious values. Those are some of the religious understandings. And then that concern gets linked then to the establishment of an independent or autocephalous Orthodox Church within the Ukraine context. And you see—in particular, what’s pointed to often is the relationship between Patriarch Kirill in the Russian Orthodox Church, and Putin, and the ways in which they’ve sort of reinforced each other’s narrative and offered support to it. And there’s really great analysis out there and stories that have been done about that. And that needs to be taken into account in responding to the situation and, I would say, that some of the religious literacy principles would then ask us to think about other ways in which religion is showing up within that, that go beyond the institution too. So a lot of the news stories that I’ve seen, for example, have focused exclusively on—sometimes—exclusively on the clerics within the Orthodox Church and their positions, either in support of or in opposition to the war. But in reality, on the ground there’s a lot more complexity that’s taken place, and a lot more of the ways in which different individuals and communities on both the Russia and the Ukraine side are responding to the violence, to the displacements, and so on. It paints a more complex and, I think, fascinating story, frankly. And sort of illuminates ways forward in support of peacebuilding. For example, there’s ways in which different kinds of ritual practices within Orthodoxy have served as a source of support and constancy to folks who are living in this situation of insecurity and displacement, in ways that have been helpful. There are, of course, other religious traditions that exist within both Ukraine and Russia that are operating and responding in different ways. Like, the Jewish community in Ukraine and the Catholic—the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. So looking at those complexities both within Orthodoxy, but there’s many different ways that Orthodox Christians are responding in both countries. There’s not one story of Orthodox Christianity and the invasion of Ukraine. But also looking at some of the religious diversity within it. And that helps to ensure, like I said, one, that we’re developing solutions that are also recognizing the ways in which religion at a very ground level is serving as a source of support, humanitarian relief, social, psychological support to people on the ground, as well as the ways in which it’s sort of manifesting ambivalently and complexly in ways that are driving some of the violence as well. And it also helps to push back against any sort of a narrative that this is about a Russian religion—on the Russian side—this is about a religious war against a secular, non-religious West or Ukraine, right? That that goes back to what I was talking about with the historical sort of contingencies that are baked into this system a little bit. And in defining it in that way, Russia’s religious and its motivations are religious, Ukraine’s not religious, that’s both not true—(laughs)—because there’s many religious folks within the Ukraine and within the West generally, but also feeds—it feeds the very narrative that Putin and Kirill are giving of a secular West that is anti-religion, that is in opposition to Russian traditional values. FASKIANOS: It seems like there needs to be some training of journalists too to have religious literacy, in the same way that we’re talking about media literacy. HAYWARD: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Probably should be introduced as well. (Laughs.) HAYWARD: Yeah, Irina, it’s funny, we did—one of my students actually did a kind of mapping and analysis of stories about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the religious dimensions of it. And she noted that there was—for example, it was—almost always it was male clerics who were being quoted. So there was very little that was coming from other gendered perspectives and experiences on the ground, lay folks and so on. And again, for that—for that very reason it’s sort of—because we know so many policymakers and international analysis are depending on these kinds of media stories, I worry that it creates a blinder to potential opportunities for different kinds of ways of addressing needs and partners for addressing needs on the ground. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Liam Wall, an undergraduate student at Loyola Marymount University: With so much diversity within religions itself, how can we avoid the analysis paralysis you mentioned and take in as many unique perspectives as possible, without letting that stand in the way of progress? How does one know that they have enough religious literacy and can now become an effective practitioner? HAYWARD: Well, OK, the bad news is that you will never have enough religious literacy. (Laughs.) This is a process, not an end. There are scholars here at Harvard who have been studying one particular sect of a particular religious tradition for their entire adult lives, and they would still say that they are students of those traditions, because they’re so complex. Because so many of these traditions are composed of a billion people or just—just 500 million people. But that means that there’s going to be an incredible diversity to explore. And so that’s the bad news. But the good news is, one, like, first take the burden off of your shoulders of having to be an expert on any one particular religious tradition, in order to be able to help to develop and enhance your own religious literacy, and those of others, and to operate in ways that reflect the principles of religious literacy, is the good news. As well as there are many different kinds of resources that you can turn to in order to understand, for example if you’re going to be working in a particular geographic location, scholarship, people you can speak to in order to begin to understand at least some of the specific manifestations and practices, and some of the disputes and diversity that exists within that particular country or geographic location across religious traditions. But, secondly, I would say, it’s almost more important than—like, the substance is important. But what’s just as important, if not more important, is understanding what kinds of questions to be asking, and to be curious about these religious questions and their intersection with the political and social. So we sometimes say that religious literacy is about developing habits of mind in how we think about these religious questions, and what kinds of questions we ask about religion. So it’s about developing that kind of a reflex to be able to kind of see what’s underneath some of the analysis that you’re seeing that might be relevant to religion or that might be advancing particularly problematic understandings of religion, or reinforcing binaries like the secular and the religious and so on. And that’s just as—just as important. So the extent to which you’re continuing to, like, hone those—that way of thinking, and those habits of mind, that will set you up well for then going into this space and being able to ask those particular questions with respect to whatever issues you’re focusing on, or whatever geographic location you’re looking at. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Mohamed Bilal, a postgraduate student at the Postgraduate Institute of Management in Sri Lanka. HAYWARD: Yay! FASKIANOS: Yes. How does sectarianism influence our literacy? In turn, if we are influenced by sectarianism, then would we be illiterate of the religion but literate of the sect? Thus, wouldn’t such a religious literacy perpetuate sectarianism? HAYWARD: Thank you for the question, Mohamed. It’s—I miss Sri Lanka. I have not been there in too long, and I look forward to going back at some point. So I would say sectarianism, in the sense of—so, there’s both religious sects, right? There’s the existence of different kinds of religious traditions, interpretive bodies, jurisprudential bodies in the case of Islam. And then broader, different schools or denominations. The term that’s used depends on the different religious tradition. And that reflects internal diversity. Sectarianism, with the -ism on the end of it, gets back to the same kinds of questions that I think Professor Clemente was asking with respect to fundamentalism. That’s about being sort of entrenched in an idea that your particular religious understanding and practice is the normative, authentic, and pure practice, and that all others are false in some ways. That is a devotional claim or—what I mean by a devotional claim, is that is a knowledge claim that is rooted within a particular religious commitment and understanding. And so religious literacy in this case would—again, it’s the principles of internal diversity, recognizing that different sects and different bodies of thought and practice are going to exist within religious traditions, but then also ensuring that any claim to be normative or to be orthodox by any of these different interpretive bodies is always a claim that is rooted within that religious tradition that we sometimes say is authentic. It’s authentic to those communities and what they believe. But it’s not exclusive. It’s not the only claim that exists within that religious tradition more broadly. And the concern is about—sects are fine. Different denominations, different interpretative bodies are fine and a good and sort of natural thing, given the breadth and the depth of these religious traditions. The problem is that -ism part of it, when it becomes a source of competition or even potentially violence between groups. And so that’s what needs to be interrogated and understood. FASKIANOS: So another question from John Francis, who’s the senior associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah: If you were training new diplomats in other countries to be stationed in the United States, where a wide range of religious traditions thrive, how would you prepare them for dealing with such religious variation? HAYWARD: The same way I would—and thank you, again, for the question. The same way that I would with any other diplomats going to any other—the same way I do with foreign service officers at the Foreign Service Institute, who are going to work overseas. I would—I would invite them to think about their own assumptions and their own worldviews and their own understandings of what religion is, based on their own contexts that they grew up in. So how that shapes how they understand what religion is, in the ways I was speaking to before. So for example, in Protestant Christianity, we tend to emphasize belief as the sort of core principle of religious traditions. But other religious traditions might emphasize different forms of practice or community as sort of the central or principal factor. So recognizing your own situatedness and the ways in which you understand and respond to different religious traditions. I would invite those who are coming to work here to read up on the historical developments and reality of different religious communities and nonreligious communities in the U.S. and encourage them to look not just at some of the—what we call the world religions, or the major religions, but also at indigenous traditions and different practices within different immigrant communities. And I would have them look at the historical relationship between the state and different religious communities as well, including the Mormon tradition there in Utah, and how the experience of, for example, the Mormon community has shaped its own relationship with the state, with other religious communities on a whole host of issues as well. And then I would encourage—just as I was saying earlier—no diplomat going to the U.S. is going to become an expert on the religious context in the U.S., because it’s incredibly complex, just like anywhere else in the world. But to be able to have sort of a basic understanding to be able to then continue to ask the kinds of questions that are going to help to understand how any political action is taken or response to any policy issues kind of inevitably bumps up against particular religious or cultural commitments and values. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from Will Carpenter, director of private equity principal investments at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and also taking a course at the Harvard Extension School. HAYWARD: Hey! FASKIANOS: I’m going to ask the second part of Will’s question. How will the current polarized domestic debate regarding U.S. history, which is often colored by the extremes—as a force for good only versus tainted by a foundation of injustice—impact America’s capacity to lead internationally? HAYWARD: Hmm, a lot. (Laughter.) Thank you for the question. I mean, I think the fact of polarization in the U.S. and the increasing difficulty that we’re facing in being able to have really deep conversations and frank conversations about historical experiences and perceptions of different communities, not just religiously, not just racially even, but across different—urban-rural, across socioeconomic divides, across educational divides and, of course, across political divides, and so on. I think that—I think that absolutely hampers our ability to engage within the global stage effectively. One, just because of the image that it gives to the rest of the world. So how can we—how can we have an authentic moral voice when we ourselves are having such a hard time engaging with one other in ways that reflect those values and that are grounded within those values? But also because I think get concern—with respect to religion questions in particular—I get concern about the increasing polarization and partisanization of religion in foreign policy and issues of religious freedom, and so on. Which means that we’re going to constantly have this sort of swinging back and forth then between Republican and Democratic administrations on how we understand and engage issues related to religion and foreign policy, different religious communities in particular, like Muslim communities worldwide, or on issues of religious freedom. So I think it’s incredibly critical—always has been, but is particularly right now at this historical moment—for us to be in the U.S. doing this hard work of having these conversations, and hearing, and listening to one another, and centering and being open about our values and having these conversations on that level of values. To be able to politically here in the U.S., much less overseas, to be able to work in ways that are effective. Irina, you’re muted. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (Laughs.) With that, we are at the end of our time. Thank you so much for this. This has been a really important hour of discussion. Again, we will send out the link to the webinar, as well as all the resources that you mentioned, Susan. Sorry we didn’t have the chat open so that we could focus on what you were saying and all the questions and comments that came forward. So we appreciate it. And thank you so much, again, for your time, Susan Hayward. And I just want to remind everybody that this is the last webinar of the semester, but we will be announcing the Winter/Spring Academic Webinar lineup in our Academic bulletin. And if you’re not already subscribed to that, you can email us at [email protected] Just as a reminder, you can learn about CFR paid internships for students and fellowships for professors at CFR.org/careers. Follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. Good luck with your exams. (Laughs.) Grading, taking them, et cetera. Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving. And we look forward to seeing you again next semester. So, again, thank you to Susan Hayward. HAYWARD: Thank you, everybody. Take care.

Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Lauren Kahn, research fellow at CFR, leads the conversation on AI military innovation and U.S. defense strategy.   FASKIANOS: Thank you, and welcome to today’s session of the Fall 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website CFR.org/Academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Lauren Kahn with us to talk about AI military innovation and U.S. defense strategy. Ms. Kahn is a research fellow at CFR, where she focuses on defense, innovation, and the impact of emerging technologies on international security. She previously served as a research fellow at Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania’s global policy think tank where she helped launch and manage projects on emerging technologies and global politics, and her work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Defense One, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the Economist, just to name a few publications. So, Lauren, thanks very much for being with us. I thought we could begin by having you set the stage of why we should care about emerging technologies and what do they mean for us in—as we look ahead in today’s world. KAHN: Excellent. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and be able to speak to you all today. So I’m kind of—when I’m setting the stage I’m going to speak a little bit about recent events and current geopolitical situations and why we care about emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing—things that seem a little bit like science fiction but are now coming into realities and how our military is using them. And then we’ll get a little bit more into the nitty gritty about U.S. defense strategy, in particular, and how they’re approaching adoption of some of these technologies with a particular focus in artificial intelligence, since that’s what I’m most interested in. Look, awesome. Thank you so much for kicking us off. So I’ll say that growing political competition between the United States, China, and Russia is increasing—the risk of great power conventional war in ways that we have not seen since the end of the Cold War. I think what comes to everyone’s mind right now is Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which is the largest land war in Europe that we’ve seen since World War II, and the use of a lot of these new emerging capabilities. And so I’ll say for the past few decades, really, until now we thought about war as something that was, largely, contained to where it was taking place and the parties particularly involved, and most recent conflicts have been asymmetric warfare being limited to terrestrial domains. So, on the ground or in the air or even at sea, where most prominent conflicts were those between nation states and either weak states or nonstate actors, like the U.S. wars—led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or intervention in places like Mali and related conflicts as part of the broader global war on terrorism, for example. And so while there might have been regional ripple effects and dynamics that shifted due to these wars, any spillover from these conflicts was a little bit more narrow or due to the movement of people themselves, for example, in refugee situations. I’ll say, however, that the character of wars is shifting in ways that are expanding where conflicts are fought and where they take place and who is involved, and a large part of this, I think, is due to newer capabilities and emerging technologies. I’ll say it’s not entirely due to them, but I think that there are some things, like, with the prominence of influence operations, and misinformation, deep fakes, artificial intelligence, commercial drones, that make access to high-end technology very cheap and accessible for the average person has meant that these wars are going to be fought in kind of new ways. We’re seeing discussion of things like information wars where things are being fought on TikTok and social media campaigns where individuals can kind of film what’s happening on the ground live and kind of no longer do states have, so to speak, a monopoly on the dissemination of information. I’ll speak a little bit more about some of the examples of technologies that we’re seeing. But, broadly speaking, this means that the battlefield is no longer constrained to the physical. It’s being fought in cyberspace, even in outer space, with the involvement of satellites and the reliance on satellite imagery and open source satellite imagery like Google Maps and, again, in cyberspace. And so as a result, it’ll not only drive new sectors and new actors kind of into the foray when it comes to fighting wars, and militaries have been preparing for this for quite a while. They’ve been investing in basic science research and development, testing and evaluation in all of these new capabilities, from artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, hypersonics. And these have been priorities for a few years but I’ll say that that conflict in Ukraine and the way that we’re seeing these technologies are being used has really kind of put a crunch on the time frame that states are facing, and I’m going to speak a little bit more about that in a minute. But to kind of give you an example of what are—what does it mean to use artificial intelligence on the battlefield—what do these kind of look like, there’s—largely, my work before this conflict was a little hypothetical. It was hard to kind of point to. But I think now, as these technologies mature, you’re seeing that they’re being used in more ways. So artificial intelligence, for example, are used to create—has been used by Russia to create deep fakes. There was a very famous one of President Zelensky that they used that they then combined with a cyberattack to put it at a very—to put it on national news in Ukraine, to make it look a little bit more believable even though the deep fake itself, it was a little, like, OK, they could tell it was computer generated. These are kind of showing how some of these technologies are evolving and, especially when combined with other kinds of technological tools, are going to be used to kind of make some of these more influence operations and propaganda campaigns a little bit more persuasive. Other examples of artificial intelligence, there’s facial recognition technology being used to identify civilians and casualties, for example. They’re being used to—they’re using natural language processing, which is a type of artificial intelligence that kind of analyzes the way people speak. You think of Siri. You think of chat bots. But more advanced versions being used to kind of read in radio transmissions and translate them and tag them so that they’re able to—that forces are able to go through more quickly and identify what combatants are saying. There’s the use of 3D printing and additive manufacturing where individuals are able to for very cheap—a 3D printer costs a couple—a thousand dollars and you can get it for maybe less if you build it yourself. You can add—you can add different components to grenades to make—and then people are taking smaller commercial drones to kind of make a MacGyvered smart bomb that you can maneuver. So those are some of the kind of commercial technologies that are being pulled into the kind of military sphere and into the battlefield. They might not be large. They might not be military in its first creation. But because they’re so general purpose technologies—they’re dual use—they’re being developed in the private sector and you’re seeing them being used on the battlefield and weaponized in new ways. There are other technologies that are more based originally in the military and defense kind of sectors and who’s created them, things like loitering munitions, which we’re seeing more of now, and a little—a lot more drones. I’m sure a lot of you have been seeing a lot of—about the Turkish TB2 drones and the Iranian drones that are now being used by Russia in the conflict. And these are not as new technologies. We’ve seen them. They’ve been around for a couple of decades. But they’re reaching a maturity in their technological lifecycle where they’re a lot more cheap and they’re a lot more accessible and they’re a lot more familiar now that they’re being used in innovative and new ways. They’re being seen as less precious and less expensive. And so not that they’re being used willy nilly or that they’re expendable but militaries, we’re seeing, are willing to use them in more flexible ways. And so, for example, Ukraine, in the early days of the campaign, there were some—allegedly, Ukraine used it as—the TB2 as a distraction when it wanted to sink a war ship rather than actually using it to try and sink the war ship itself. And so using it for things that they’re good for but maybe not the initial thought or the initial what they were designed to be used for. Iran—I mean, excuse me, Russia, now using the Iranian-made loitering munitions. They’re pretty reasonable in price. They’re about $20,000 a pop, and so using them in swarms to be able to take out some of the Ukrainian infrastructure has been a pretty good technique. Ukraine, for example, is very good at shooting them down. I think they were reporting at some point they had an ability to shoot them down at a rate of around 85 percent to 90 percent. And so the swarms weren’t necessarily all of them were getting through but because they’re so reasonably priced it was still—it was still a reasonable tactic and strategy to take. There’s even some kind of more cutting edge, a little bit more unbelievable, applications like now being touted as an Uber for artillery, whether you’re using similar kind of algorithms that Uber uses to kind of identify which passengers to pick up first and where to drop them off, about how to target artillery systems—what target is most efficient to hit first. And so we’re seeing a lot of these technologies being used, like I said, in new and practical ways, and it’s really condensed the timeline that, I think, states are seeing, especially the United States—that they want to adopt these technologies. Back in 2017, Vladimir Putin famously stated that he believed that whoever became leader in AI would become leader of the world, and China has very much publicized their plans to invest a lot more in AI research and development, to invest in bridging the gaps between its civil and military engineers and technologists to take advantage of AI by the year 2023. So we’ve got about one more year to go. And so I think that the United States, recognizing this, the time crunch has been—the heat is on, so to speak, for adopting some of these newer capabilities. And so we’re seeing that a lot now. There’s a lot of reorganization happening within the Department of Defense to kind of better leverage and better adapt in order to take advantage of some of these technologies. There’s the creation of a new chief data—digital and artificial intelligence office, the new emerging capabilities policy office, that are efforts in order to better integrate data systems ongoing projects in the Department of Defense, et cetera, to implement it for broader U.S. strategy. There’s been efforts as well to partner with allies in order to develop artificial intelligence. I mean, as part of the Indo-Pacific strategy that the Biden administration announced back in February of 2022 they announced that along with the Quad partners—so Japan, Australia, and I’m forgetting—and India, excuse me—they are going to fund research, for example, for any graduates from any of those four countries to come study in the United States if they focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and so to foster that integration and collaboration between our allies and partners to better take use of some of these things. I’ll say, even so, recently, in April 2022, for example, I think, looking at how Ukraine was using a lot of these technologies, the United States was able to fast track one of its programs. It was called the Phoenix Ghost. It’s a loitering munition. Little—it’s still a little—not well known. But, for example, I saw that the capabilities requirement that Ukraine had and fast tracked their own program in order to fulfill that. So they’re being used for the first time. So, again, we’re seeing that the United States is kind of using this as an opportunity to learn as well as to really take advantage and start kicking into high gear AI in defense innovation development. And so I’ll say that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its challenges, acquisitions process in particular. So how the United States—how Department of Defense takes a program from research and development all the way to an actual capability that it’s able to use on the battlefield. Before, in the 1950s where it used to take maybe five years now takes a few decades, there’s a lot of processes in between that make it a little bit challenging. All these sorts of checks and balances in place, which are great, but have made the process slow down the process a little bit. And so it’s harder for smaller companies and contractors to kind of—that are driving a lot of this—driving the cutting-edge research in a lot of these fields to work with the defense sector. And so there are some of these challenges, which, hopefully, some of this reorganization that the Pentagon is doing will help us. But that’s the next step, looking forward. And so that’s going to, I think, be the next big challenge that I’m watching for the—over the rest of this year and the next six months. But I think I threw a lot out there but I’m happy to open it for questions now and focus on anything in particular. But I think that gave an overview of some of the things that we’re seeing now. FASKIANOS: Absolutely. That was insightful and a little scary—(laughs)—and look forward now to everybody’s questions. As a reminder, after two and a half years of doing this, you can click on the raise hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or Tablet click the more button to access the raise hand feature. When you’re called upon, please accept the unmute prompt and state your name and affiliation. You can also submit a written question via the Q&A icon, and please include your affiliation there, and we are going to try to get through as many questions as we can. All right. So the first question—raised hand comes from Michael Leong. Q: Hi. Is this working? FASKIANOS: It is. Please tell us your affiliation. Q: Hi. My name is Michael Leong. I’m an MPA student in public administration at the University of Arizona in Tucson. And I just have a question about, basically, with the frequent use and successful use of drones in Ukraine is there any concern domestically about—because of how easily they are adapting such accessible technology to warfare that those can be used maliciously domestically and what steps they might be considering. Thanks. KAHN: Absolutely. That’s a great question. I think it’s broader than just drones as well when you have this proliferation of commercial technology into defense space and you have these technologies that are not necessarily, for example, weapons, right. So for—I think a good example is Boston Dynamics. They make this quad pet robot with four legs. It looks kind of like a dog. His name is Spot. And he’s being used in all sorts of commercial applications—help fund local police forces, et cetera—for very benevolent uses. However, there’s been a lot of concern that someone will go and, essentially, duct tape a gun to Spot and what will that kind of mean. And so I think it’s a similar kind of question when you have some of these technologies, again, that aren’t—it depends on how you use them and so it’s really up to the user. And so when you get things like commercial drones, et cetera, that you’re seeing that individuals are using for either reconnaissance or, again, using in combination with things like 3D printing to make weapons and things like that, it is going to be increasingly, increasingly difficult to control the flow. We’ve seen Professor Michael Horowitz over at the University of Pennsylvania, who’s now in government, he’s done a lot of research on this and you see that the diffusion of technologies happens a lot—a lot quicker when they’re commercially based rather than when they’re from a military origination. And so I think it’s definitely going to pose challenges, especially when you get things like software and things like artificial intelligence, which are open source and you can use from anywhere. So putting—kind of like controlling export and extrolling (sic) after the fact how they’re used is going to be extremely difficult. A lot of that right now is currently falling to kind of companies who are producing them to self-regulate since they have the best, like, ability to kind of limit access to certain technologies. Like, for example, open AI. If any of you have played with DALL-E 2 or DALL-E Mini, the image generating prompt sandbox tool that’s—they have limited what the public can access—certain features, right—and are testing themselves to see, OK, how are these being used maliciously. I think a lot of them are testing how they’re being used for influence operations, for example. And so making sure that some of those features that allow that to be more malicious they’re able to regulate that. But it is going to be extremely hard and the government will have to work hand in hand with a lot of these companies and private actors that are developing these capabilities in order to do that. But it’s a very great question and it is not one that I have a very easy answer to on how to address that. But it is, like, something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Arnold Vela, who’s an adjunct faculty at Northwest Vista College. What is the potential value of AI for strategy, e.g., war planning, versus tactical uses? KAHN: Great. So I think—honestly, I think a lot of artificial intelligence the benefit is replacing repetitive human—repetitive redundant tasks, right. So it’s not replacing the human. It’s making the human be more efficient by reducing things like data entry and cleaning and able to pull resources from all together. And so it’s actually already being used, for example, in war planning and war gaming and things like that and Germany and Israel have created things to make 3D AI to create sort of 3D battlefields where they can see all the different kind of inputs of information and sensors. And so I think that’s really where the value add—the competitive advantage of artificial intelligence is. It’s not necessarily—having an autonomous drone is very useful but I think what will really be the kind of game changer, so to speak, will be in making forces more efficient and both have a better sense of themselves as well as their adversaries, for example. And so, definitely, I think, I’m more in the background with the nonsexy—the data cleaning and all the numbers bit will be a lot more important, I think, than the having a drone with encased AI capabilities, even though those kind of suck the oxygen out a little bit because it’s really exciting. It’s shiny. It’s Terminator. It’s I, Robot-esque, right? But I think a lot of it will be the making linguists within the intelligence community able to process and translate documents at a much faster pace. So making individuals’ lives easier, I think. So definitely. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Dalton Goble. Please accept the unmute. Q: Thank you. FASKIANOS: There you go. Q: Hi. I’m Dalton. I’m from the University of Kentucky and I’m at the Patterson School for Diplomacy and International Commerce. Thank you for having this talk. I really wanted to ask about the technology divide between the developed and developing world, and I wanted to hear your comments about how the use of AI in warfare and the technologies such as—and their proliferation can exasperate that divide. KAHN: Absolutely. I actually think, we’re—I think that I’ve been focusing a lot on how the U.S. and China and Russia, in particular, have been adopting these technologies because they’re the ones that are investing in it the most. I mean, countries in Europe are as well and, Israel, et cetera, and Australia also. Except I still think we’re in those early stages where a lot of countries—I think, over a hundred or something—have the national AI strategies right now. I don’t think it’s as far along yet in terms of its—at least its military applications or applications for government. I will say that, more broadly, I think, again, because these technologies are developed in the commercial sector and are a lot more reasonably priced, I think there’s actually a lot of space for countries in the developing world, so to speak, to adopt these technologies. There’s not as many barriers, I think, when it’s, again, necessarily a very expensive, super specific military system. And so I think that it’s actually quite diffusing rapidly in terms—and pretty equally. I haven’t done extensive research into that. It’s a very good question. But my first gut reaction is that it actually can—it actually can help kind of speak—not necessarily exacerbate the divide but kind of close the gap a little bit. A colleague of mine works a lot in health care and in health systems in developing countries and she works specifically with them to develop a lot of these technologies and find that they actually adopt them quicker because they don’t have all of these existing preconceived notions about what the systems and organizations should look like and are a lot more open to using some of these tools. But I will say, again, they are just tools. No technology is a silver bullet, and so I think that, again, being in the commercial sector these technologies will diffuse a lot more rapidly than other kind of military technologies. But it is something to be cognizant of, for sure. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Alice Somogyi. She’s a master’s student in international relations at the Central European University. Could you tell us more on the implications of deep fakes within the military sector and as a defense strategy? KAHN: Absolutely. I think influence operations in general are going to be increasingly part of the—part of the game, so to speak. I mean, I mentioned there’s going to be—it’s very visible to see in the case of Ukraine about how the information war, especially in the early days of the conflict, was super, super important, and the United States did a very good job of releasing information early to allies and partners, et cetera, to kind of make the global reaction time to the invasion so quick. And so I think that was a lot—very unexpected and I think has shown just—not to overstate it but the power of individuals and that a lot of propaganda will have. We’ve known—I’m sure if you studied warfare history, you can see the impact of propaganda. It’s always been—it’s always been an element at play. I will just say it’s another tool in the toolkit to make it a little bit more believable, to make it harder, to make these more efficient, and I think what’s really, really interesting, again, is how a lot of these technologies are going to be worked together to kind of make them more believable. Like, again, creating deep fakes. The technology isn’t there yet to make them super believable, at least on a—like, a large scale that many people at—that a state could believe. But combining them with something like a cyberattack, to place that in a place that you would have a little bit more—more willing to believe it, I think, will be increasingly important. And we’ll see it, I’m sure, combined in other ways that I can’t even imagine. And that goes back to one of the earlier questions we had about the proliferation of these technologies and, like, it being commercial and being able to contain the use and you can’t, and that’s the hardest part. And I think that especially when it comes to software and things where once you sell it out there they can use it for whatever they want. And so it’s this kind of creativity where you can’t prevent against any possible situation that you don’t know. So it has to be a little bit reactive. But I think there are measures that states and others can take to be a little bit proactive to protect against the use. This isn’t specifically about deep fakes but about artificial intelligence in general. There’s a space, I think, for confidence-building measures so informal agreements that states can kind of come to to set norms and kind of general rules of the road about, like, expectations for artificial intelligence and other kind of emerging technologies that they can put in place before they’re used so that when situations that are unexpected or have never seen before arise that there’s not—there’s not totally no game plan, right. There’s a kind of things and processes to kind of fall back on to guide how to advance and work on that situation without having to—without regulating too much too quickly that they become outdated very quickly. But I think it’ll definitely be as the technology develops that we’ll be using a lot more deep fakes. FASKIANOS: Yes. So Nicholas Keeley, a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University, has a question that goes along these lines. Ukrainian government and Western social media platforms were pretty successful at preempting, removing, and counteracting the Zelensky deep fake. How did this happen? I mean, he’s—asks about the cutting-edge prevention measures against AI-generated disinformation today that you just touched upon. But can you just talk about the Ukrainian—this specific what we’re seeing now in Ukraine? KAHN: Yeah. I think Ukraine has been very, very good at using these tools in a way that we haven’t seen before and I think that’s, largely, why a lot of these countries now are looking and watching and are changing their tack when it comes to using these. Again, they seem kind of far off. Like, what’s the benefit of using these newer technologies when we have things that are known and work. But I think Ukraine, kind of being the underdog in this situation and knowing since 2013 that this was a future event that might happen has been preparing, I think, in particular, their digital minister. I’m not sure what the exact title was, but they were able to mobilize that very quickly. It was originally set up to better digitize their government platforms and provide access to individuals, I think, on a phone app. But then they had these experts that work on how—OK, how can we use digital tools to kind of engage the public and engage media. I think when they—they militarized them, essentially. And so I think a lot of the early days, asking for—a lot of people in that organization asked Facebook, asked Apple, et cetera, to either put sanctions, to put guardrails up. You know, a lot of the early, like, Twitter, taking down the media, et cetera, was also engaged because specifically this organization within Ukraine made it their mission to do so and to kind of work as the liaison between Silicon Valley, so to speak, and to get—and to engage the commercial sector so they could self-regulate and help kind of the government do these sort of things, which, I think, inevitably led to them catching the deep fake really quickly. But also, if you look at it, it’s pretty—it’s pretty clear that it’s computer generated. It’s not great. So I think that, in part, was it and, again, in combination with a cyberattack you could then notice that there was a service attack. And so, while it made it more realistic, there’s also risks about that because they’re practiced in identifying when a cyberattack just occurred, more so than other things. But, absolutely. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Andrés Morana, who’s raised his hand. Q: Hi. Good afternoon. I’m Andrés Morana, affiliated with Johns Hopkins SAIS International Relations. Master’s degree. I wanted to ask you about AI and then maybe emerging technology as well. But I think artificial intelligence, as it applies to kind of the defense sector, like, the need to also at the same time reform in parallel the acquisitions process, which is notorious for—as we think about AI kind of where these servers are hosted a lot of commercial companies might come with maybe some new shiny tech that could be great. But if their servers are hosted in maybe a place that’s so easy to access then maybe this is not great, as it applies to that defense sector. So I don’t know if you have thoughts on maybe the potential to reform or the need to reform the acquisitions process. Thank you. KAHN: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is some people’s, like, favorite, favorite topic on this because it has become sort of a valley of death, right, where things go and they die. They don’t—they don’t move. Of course, there’s some bridges. But it is problematic for a reason. There’s been a few kind of efforts to create mechanisms to circumvent that. The Defense Innovation Unit has created some kind of funding mechanisms to avoid it. But, overall, I do think it needs—I don’t know what that looks like. I’m not nearly an expert on specifically the acquisitions process that a lot of folks are. But it is pretty—it would make things a lot easier. China, for example, people are talking about, oh, it’s so far ahead on artificial intelligence, et cetera, et cetera. I would argue that it’s not. It’s better at translating what it has in the civilian and academic sectors into the military sphere and being able to use and integrate that. And so overcome that gap. It does so with civil-military fusion. You know, they can kind of do—OK, well, we’re saying we’re doing it this way so it’s going to happen, whereas the United States doesn’t have that kind of ability. But I would say the United States has all the academic and industry leading on artificial intelligence. Stanford recently put out their 2022 AI Index that has some really great charts and numbers on this about how much—how much research is being done in the world on artificial intelligence and which countries and which regions and specifically who’s funding that, whether it’s governments, academia, or industry. And the United States is still leading in industry and academia. It’s just that the government has a problem tapping into that, whereas China, for example, its government funding is a lot greater and there’s a lot more collaboration across government, academia, and industry. And so I think that is right now the number-one barrier that I see. The second one, I’ll say, is accessing data and making sure you have all the bits and pieces that you need to be able to use AI, right. What’s the use of having a giant model that—an algorithm that could do a million things if you don’t have all of the data set up for it. And so those are the two kind of organizational infrastructure problems that I’ll say are really hindering the U.S. when it comes to kind of adopting these technologies. But, unfortunately, I do not have a solve for it. I would be super famous in the area if I did, but I do not, unfortunately. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Will Carpenter, a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. Also got an up vote. What are the key milestones in AI development and quantum computing to watch for in the years ahead from a security perspective? Who is leading in the development of these technologies—large cap technology companies such as Google, ByteDance? Venture capital-backed private companies, government-funded entities, et cetera? KAHN: Great. Great question. I’ll say for quantum, quantum is a little bit more down the line since we do not have a quantum computer, like, a really big quantum computer yet that can handle enough data. China’s kind of leading in that area, so to speak. So it’s curious to watch them. They’ve created their first, I think, quantum-encrypted communications line and they’ve done a few works on that. So I think to keep an eye on that will be important. But, really, just getting a computer large enough that it’s reasonable to use quantum, I think, will be the next big milestone there. But that’s quite a few years down the line. But when it comes to artificial intelligence, I’ll say that artificial intelligence has had waves and kind of divots in interest and then research. They call them AI winters and AI springs. Winter is when there’s not a lot of funding and spring is when there is. It’s featured a lot of—right now we’re in a spring, obviously, and it was a large part because of breakthroughs in, like, the 2010s in things like natural language processing and computer vision, et cetera. And so I think continued milestones in those will be key. There’s a few that I’ve worked on. There’s a—there’s the paper right now—hopefully, it will be out in the next few months—on forecasting on when we actually think those—when AI experts and machine learning experts think those milestones will be hit. I mean, there were, like, two that were hit, like, there was ones where you’d have AI being able to beat all the Atari games. You have AI being able to play Angry Birds. There’s ones that’s, like, OK—well, and there are lots of those mini milestones that—bigger leaps than just the efficiency of these algorithms. I think things like artificial or general intelligence. Some say there are some abilities for you to create one algorithm that can play a lot of different games. You know, it can play chess and Atari and Tetris. But I think, broadly speaking, it’s a little bit down the line also. But I’ll say for, like, the next few months, it’ll—and the next few years, it’ll probably be just, like, more efficient in some of these algorithms, making them better, making them leaner, use a lot less data. But I think we’ve, largely, hit the big ones and so I think it’ll be—we’ll see these short, smaller milestones being achieved in the next few years. And I think there was another part to the question in the—let me just go look in the answer for what it was. Who’s developing these. FASKIANOS: Right. KAHN: I would say these, like, large companies like Google, Open AI, et cetera. But I’ll say a lot of these models are open source, for example, which means that the models themselves are out there and they’re available to anyone who wants to kind of take them and use them. I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen—once you saw DALL-E Mini you saw DALL-E 2 and DALL-E X. So, like, they proliferate really quickly and they adapt, and that’s a large part what’s driving the acceleration of artificial intelligence. It’s moving so quickly because there is this nature of collaboration and sharing that companies are incentivized to participate in, where they just take the models, train them against their own data, and if it works better they use that. And so those kind of companies are all playing a part, so to speak. But I would say, largely, academia right now is still really pushing the forefront, which is really cool to see. So I think that means that a lot more Blue Skies kind of just basic research being funded will—if it’s being pumped into that we’ll continue to kind of—we’ll see these advances continue. I’ll say also a lot of—when it comes to defense applications, in particular, I think, and where the challenge is is that a lot of—a lot more than typically when it comes to artificial intelligence these capabilities are being developed by niche smaller startup companies that might not be— that might not have the capabilities that, say, a Google or a Microsoft has when it comes to working and contracting with the U.S. government. So that’s also a challenge. When you have this acquisitions process it’s a little bit challenging at best, even for the big companies. I think for these smaller companies that really do have great applications and great specific uses for AI, I think that’s also a significant challenge. So I think it’s, basically, everybody. Everyone’s working together, which is great. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to DJ Patil. Q: Thanks, Irina. Good to see you. FASKIANOS: Likewise. Q: And thanks for this, Lauren. So I’m DJ Patil and I’m at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center, as well as Devoted Health and Venrock Partners. And so, Lauren, the question you addressed a little bit on the procurement side, I’m curious what your advice to the secretary of defense would be around capabilities, specifically, given the question of large language models or the efforts that we’re seeing in industry and how much separation of results that we’re seeing even in industry compared to academia. Just the breakthroughs that we’re seeing reported are so stunning. And then if we look at the datasets that are—that they’re building on—those companies are building on, they’re, basically, open or there’s copyright issues in there. There’s defense applications which have very small data sets, and also, as you mentioned, in the procurement side a lack of access to the ability of these things. And so what is the mechanisms if you looked across this from a policy perspective of how we start tapping into those capabilities to ensure that we have competitiveness as the next set of iterations of these technologies take place? KAHN: Absolutely. I think that’s a great question. I’ve done a little bit of work on this. When they were creating the chief digital AI office, I think they had, like, people brainstorming about, like, what kind of things we would like to see and I think everyone agreed that they would love for them to get kind of a better access to data. If the defense secretary asks, can I have data on all the troop movements for X, Y, and Z, there’s a lot of steps to go through to pull all that information. The U.S. defense enterprise is great at collecting data from a variety of sources—from the intelligence community, analysts, et cetera. I think what’s challenging to know—and, of course, there are natural challenges built in with different levels of how confidential things are and how—the classifications, et cetera. But I think being able to pull those together and to clean that data and to organize it will be a key first step and that is a big infrastructure systems software kind of challenge. A lot of it’s actually getting hardware in the defense enterprise up to date and a lot of it is making sure you have the right people. I think another huge one—and, I mean, the National Security Commission on AI on their final report announced that the biggest hindrance to actually leveraging these capabilities is the lack of AI and STEM talent in the intelligence community in the Pentagon. There’s just a lack of people that, one, have the vision to—have the background and are willing to kind of say, OK, like, this is even a possible tool that we can use and to understand that, and then once it’s there to be able to train them to be able to use them to do these kind of capacities. So I think that’ll be a huge one. And there are ways that kind of—there are efforts right now ongoing with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center—the JAIC—to kind of pilot AI educational programs for this reason as a kind of AI crash course. But I think there needs to be, like, a broader kind of effort to encourage STEM graduates to go into government and that can be done, again, by kind of playing ball, so to speak, with this whole idea of open source. Of course, the DOD can’t do—Department of Defense can’t make all of its programs open and free to the public. But I think it can do a lot more to kind of show that it’s a viable option for individuals working in these careers to address some of the same kind of problems and will also have the most up to date tech and resources and data as well. And I think right now it’s not evident that that’s the case. They might have a really interesting problem set, which is shown to be attractive to AI PhD graduates and things like that. But it doesn’t have the same kind of—again, they’re not really promoting and making resources and setting up their experts in the best way, so to speak, to be able to use these capabilities. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Konstantin, who actually wrote a question—Tkachuk—but also raised his hand. So if you could just ask your question that would be best. Q: Yes. I’m just happy to say it out loud. So my name is Konstantin. I’m half Russian, half Ukrainian. I’m connecting here from Schwarzman Scholarship at Tsinghua University. And my question is more coming towards the industry as a whole, how it has to react on what’s happening to the technology that the industry is developing. Particularly, I am curious whether it’s the responsibility and interest of industry and policymakers to protect the technology from such a misuse and whether they actually do have control and responsibility to make these technology frameworks unusable for certain applications. Do you think this effort could be possible, give the resources we have, the amount of knowledge we have? And, more importantly, I would even be curious on your perspective whether you think countries have to collaborate on that in order to such effort be efficient, or it should be incentive models based inside countries that will make an effort to the whole community. KAHN: Awesome. I think all of the above. I think right now, because there’s so—the relatively little understanding of how these work, I think a lot of it is the private companies self-regulating, which I think is a necessary component. But there are also now indications of efforts to kind of work with governments on things like confidence-building measures or other kind of mechanisms to kind of best understand and best develop transparency measures, testing and evaluation, other kind of guardrails against use. I think there are, like, different layers to this, of course, I think, and all of them are correct and all of them are necessary. I think the specific applications themselves there needs to be an element of regulation. I think at some point there needs to be, like, a user agreement as well about when they’re selling technologies and selling capabilities, how they agree to kind of abide by the terms. You sign it when you—the terms of use, right. And I think also then there are, of course, export controls that can be put on and certain—you’re allowed to do, the commercial side but you make the system itself—incompatibles are being used with other kinds of systems that would make it dangerous. But I think there’s also definitely room and necessary space for interstate collaboration on some of these, especially when you get—say, for example, when you introduce artificial intelligence into military systems, right, they make them faster. They make the decision-making process a lot more speedy, basically, and so the individual has to make quicker decisions. And so if you have things and when you introduce things like artificial intelligence to increasingly complex systems you have the ability for accidents to kind of snowball, right, where they become—as they go through. Like, one little decision can make a huge kind of impact and end up with a mistake, unfortunately. And so when you have the kind of situation when you’re forbid it’s in a—in a battlefield context, right. And let’s say the adversary says, oh, well, you intentionally shot down XYZ plane; and the individual said no, it was an auto malfunction and we had an AI in charge of it; who, in that fact, is responsible now? If it was not an individual now is it the—the blame kind of shifts up the pipeline. And so you’ve got problems like these. Like, that’s just one example. But, like, where you have increasingly automated systems and artificial intelligence that kind of shift how dynamics play out, especially in accidents, which require a lot of visibility, traditionally, and you have these technologies that are not so visible, not so transparent. You don’t really get to see how they work or understand how they think in the same way that you can say, if I pressed a button and you see the causality of that chain reaction. And so I think there is very much a need because of that for even adversaries—not necessarily just allies—to agree on how certain weapons will be used and I think that’s why there’s this space for confidence-building measures. I think a really—like, for example, a really simple kind of everyone already agrees on this is to have a human in the loop, right—a human control. When we eventually use artificial intelligence and automated systems increasingly in nuclear context, right, with nuclear weapons, I think everyone’s kind of on board with that. And so I think those are the kind of, like, building block agreements and kind of establishment of norms that can happen and that need to take place now before these technologies really start to be used. That will be essential to avoiding those worst case scenarios in the future. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take the next question—written question—from Alexander Beck, undergraduate at UC Berkeley. In the context of military innovation literature, what organizational characteristics or variables have the greatest effect on adoption and implementation, respectively? KAHN: Absolutely. I’m not an organizational expert. However, I’ll say, like before, I think that’s shifting, at least from the United States perspective. I think, for example, when the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center was created it was, like, the best advice was to create separate organizations that had the capability to kind of enact their own kind of agenda and to create separate programs for all of these to kind of best foster growth. And so that worked for a while, right. The JAIC was really great at promoting artificial intelligence and raising it to a level of preeminence in the United States. A lot of early success in making—raising awareness, et cetera. But now we’re seeing, there was some—a little bit of confusion, a little bit of concern, over the summer when they did establish the chief data—a digital and artificial intelligence office—excuse me. A lot of acronyms—when they—because they took over the JAIC. They subsumed the JAIC. There was a lot of worry about that, right. Like, they just established this great organization that we’ve had in 2019 and now they’re redoing it. And so I think they realized that as the technology develop, organizational structures need to develop and change as well. Like, in the beginning, artificial intelligence was kind of seen as its own kind of microcosm. But because it’s in a general purpose enabling technology it touches a lot more and so it needs to be thought more broadly rather than just, OK, here’s our AI project, right. You need to better integrate it and situate it next to necessary preconditions like the food for AI, which is data, right. So they reorganized to kind of ideally do that, right. They integrate it research and engineering, which is the arm in the Defense Department that kind of funds the basic research, to kind of have people understand policy as well. So they have all of these different arms now within this broader organization. And so there are shifts in the literature, I think, and there are different best cases for different kind of technologies. But I’m not as familiar with where the literature is going now. But that was kind of the idea has shifted, I think, even from 2018 to 2022. FASKIANOS: Thanks. We’re going to go next to Harold Schmitz. Q: Hey, guys. I think a great, great talk. I wanted to get your thoughts on AlphaFold, RoseTTAFold—DeepMind—and biological warfare and synthetic biology, that sort of area. Thank you. KAHN: Of course. I— Q: And, by the way—sorry—I should say I’m with the University of California Davis School of Management and also with the March Group—a general partner. Thank you. KAHN: I am really—so I’m really not familiar much with the bio elements. I know it’s an increasing area of interest. But I think, at least in my research, kind of taking a step back, I think it was hard enough to get people within the defense sector to acknowledge artificial intelligence. So I haven’t seen much in the debate, unfortunately, recently, just because I think a lot of the defense innovation strategy, at least in the Biden administration, is focused directly on the pacing—addressing the pacing challenge of China. And so they’ve mentioned biowarfare and biotechnology as well as nanotechnology and et cetera, but not as much in a comprehensive way as artificial intelligence and quantum in a way that I’m able to answer your question. I’m sorry. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’ll go next to Alex, who has raised—and you’ll have to give us your last name and identify yourself. Q: Hi. Yes. Thank you. I’m Alex Grigor. I just completed my PhD at University of Cambridge. My research is specifically looking at U.S. cyber warfare and cybersecurity capabilities, and in my interviews with a lot of people in the defense industry, their number-one complaint, I suppose, was just not getting the graduates applying to them the way that they had sort of hoped to in the past. And if we think back at ARPANET and all the amazing innovations that have come out of the internet and can come out of the defense, do you see a return to that? Or do you see us now looking very much to procure and whatever from the private industry, and how might that sort of recruitment process be? They cited security clearances as one big impediment. But what else might you think that could be done differently there? KAHN: Yeah. Absolutely. I think security clearances, all the bureaucratic things, are a challenge, but even assuming that individual wants to work, I think right now if you’re working in STEM and you want to do research I think having two years, for example, in government and being a civilian, working in the Pentagon, for example, it looks—it doesn’t necessarily look like—allow you to jump then back into the private sector and academia, whereas other jobs do. So I think that’s actually a big challenge about making it possible for various reasons, various mechanisms, to kind of make it a reasonable kind of goal for not necessarily being a career in government but allowing people to kind of come and go. I think that’ll be a significant challenge and I think that’s in part about some of the ability to kind of contribute to the research that we spoke about earlier. I mean, the National Security Commission has a whole strategy that they’ve outlined on it. I’ve seen, again, like, piecemeal kind of efforts to overcome that. But nothing broad and sweeping reform as suggested by the report. I recommend reading it. It’s, like, five hundred pages long. But there’s a great section on the talent deficit. But, yeah, I think that will definitely be a challenge. I think cyber is facing that challenge. I just think anything that touches STEM in general, and so—and especially because I think the AI and particular machine learning talent pool is global and so states actually are, interestingly, kind of fighting over this talent pool. I’ve done a research previously also at the University of Oxford that looked at, like, the immigration preferences of researchers and where they move and things like that, and a lot of them are Chinese and studying in the United States. And they stay here. They move, et cetera. But a lot of it is actually also immigration and visas. And so other countries—China specifically made kind of for STEM graduates special visas. Europe has done it as well. And so I think that will also be another element at play. There’s a lot of these to kind of attract more talent. I mean, again, one of the steps that was tried was the Quad Fellowship that was established through the Indo-Pacific strategy. But, again, that’s only going to be for a hundred students. And so there needs to be a broader kind of effort to make it—to facilitate the flow of experts into government. To your other point about is this going to be what it looks like now about the private sector driving the bus, I think it will be for the time being unless DARPA and the defense agencies’ research arm and DOD change this acquisition process and, again, was able to get that talent, then I think—if something changes, then I think it will be able to, again, be able to contribute in the way that it has in the past. I think it’s important, too, right. There was breakthroughs out of cryptography. And, again, the internet all came from defense initially. And so I think it would be really sad if that was not the case anymore and I think especially as right now we’re talking about using—being able to kind of cross that bridge and work with the private sector and I think that will be necessary. I hope it doesn’t go too far that it becomes entirely reliant because I think DOD will need to be self-sufficient. It’s another kind of ecosystem to generate research in applications, and not all problems can be addressed by commercial applications as well. It’s a very unique problem set that defense and militaries face. And so I think there will need to be—right now, it’s a little bit heavy on needing to—there’s a little bit of a push right now, OK, we need to better work with the private sector. But I think, hopefully, overall, if it moves forward it will balance out again. FASKIANOS: Lauren, do you know how much money DOD is allocating towards this in the overall budget? KAHN: Off the top of my head, I don’t know. It’s a few billion. It’s, like, a billion. I think—I have to look. I can look it up. In the research 2023 budget request there was the highest amount requested ever for STEM research and engineering and testing and evaluation. I think it was—oh, gosh, it was a couple hundred million (dollars) but they had—it was a huge increase from the last year. So it’s an increasing priority. But I don’t have the specific numbers on how much. People talk about China funding more. I think it’s about the same. But it’s increasing steadily across the board. FASKIANOS: Great. So I’m going to give the final question to Darrin Frye, who’s an associate professor at Joint Special Operations University in the Department of Strategic Intelligence and Emergent Technologies, and his is a practical question. Managing this type of career how do you structure your time researching and learning about the intricacies of complex technologies such as quantum entanglement or nano-neuro technologies versus informing leadership and interested parties on the anticipated impact of emergent technologies on the future military operational environment? And maybe you can throw in there why you went into this field and why you settled upon this, too. KAHN: Yeah. I love this question. I have always been interested in the militarization of science and how wars are fought because I think it allows you to study a lot of different elements. I think it’s very interesting working at the intersection. I think, broadly speaking, a lot of the problems that the world is going to face, moving forward, are these transnational large problems that will require academia, industry, and government to kind of work on together from climate change and all of these emerging technologies, for example, global health, as we’ve seen over the past few years. And so I think it’s a little bit of a striking a balance, right. So I came from a political science background, international relations background, and I did want to talk about the big picture. And I think there are individuals kind of working on these problems and are recognizing them. But in that I noticed that I’m speaking a lot about artificial intelligence and emerging technologies and I’m not—I’m not from an engineering background. And so me, personally, I’m, for example, doing a master’s in computer science right now at Penn in order to shore up those kind of deficiencies and lack of knowledge in my sphere. I can’t learn everything. I can’t be a quantum expert and an AI expert. But I think having the baseline understanding and taking a few of those courses and more regularly has allowed me to when a new technology, for example, shows up that I can learn how—I know how to learn about that technology, which, I think, has been very helpful, speaks both languages, so to speak. I don’t think anyone’s going to be a master—you can’t be a master of one, let alone master of both. But I think it will be increasingly important to spend time learning about how these things work, and I think just getting a background in coding can’t hurt. And so it’s definitely something you need to balance. I would say I’m probably balanced more towards what are the implications of this, more broadly, since if you’re talking at such a high level it doesn’t help necessarily people without that technical background to get into the nitty gritty. It can get jargony very quickly, as I’m sure you guys understood listening to me even. And so I think there’s a benefit to learning about it but also make sure you don’t get too in the weeds. I think there are—I think a big important—there’s a lot of space for people who kind of understand both that can then bring those people who are experts, for example, on quantum entanglement and nanotechnology—to bring them so that when they’re needed they can come in and speak to people in a policy kind of setting. So there definitely is a room, I think, for intermediaries. There’s policy experts that people kind of sit in between and then, of course, the highly specialized expertise, which I think is definitely, definitely important. But it’s hard to balance. But I think it’s very fun as well because then you get to learn a lot of new things. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, with that we are out of time. I’m sorry that we couldn’t get to all the written questions and the raised hands. But, Lauren Kahn, thank you very much for this hour, and to all of you for your great questions and comments. You can follow Lauren on Twitter at @Lauren_A_Kahn, and, of course, go to CFR.org for op-eds, blogs, and insight and analysis. The last academic webinar of this semester will be on Wednesday, November 16, at 1:00 p.m. (EST). We are going to be talking with Susan Hayward, who is at Harvard University, about religious literacy in international affairs. So, again, I hope you will all join us then. Lauren, thank you very much. And I just want to encourage those of you, the students on this call and professors, about our paid internships and our fellowships. You can go to CFR.org/careers for information for both tracks. Follow us at @CFR_Academic and visit, again, CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all, again. Thank you, Lauren. Have a great day. KAHN: Thank you so much. Take care. FASKIANOS: Take care.
College and University Educators Workshop
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Higher Education Webinars

Reserved for college and university leaders, administrators, and professors, the CFR Higher Education Webinar series offers timely conversations on global issues affecting higher education, featuring CFR fellows and thought leaders. Webinars convene monthly to explore strategic challenges and share best practices for meeting them. Video recordings and transcripts are posted to CFR.org after the fact. 

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Past Higher Education Webinars

United States

Ashley Holben, interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and executive specialist to the chief executive officer at Mobility International USA, leads the conversation on disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic if you’d like to share it with your colleagues. You can enable the closed captioning by clicking on the icon on your laptop or on your iPad in the “More” button. If you click on that you can show captions. So I encourage you to do that. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Ashley Holben with us today to discuss disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. Ms. Holben is interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, and executive specialist to the CEO at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. So, Ashley, thanks very much for being with us. Let’s just get right to it. If you could discuss and share with us the importance of disability inclusion in higher education institutions and international affairs, and share what you have found to be some of the best practices to do so on college campuses. HOLBEN: Certainly. Well, thank you so much, Irina, and thanks so much to the entire CFR team for putting this topic on the agenda of this webinar series. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to discuss an often misunderstood topic but a very prominent community, which is people with disabilities in higher education. And so really appreciate all of those who are joining today to tune in, and welcome. And, you know, the CFR team shared with me the roster of folks who were planning to attend and one thing that really stood out to me is kind of the really wide breadth of expertise and departments represented and positions represented. So it’s really encouraging to see so many different types of leadership wanting to discuss this further and wanting to share practices. So I’m looking forward to doing that today and I really hope to hear from some of those who are tuning in with your expertise and observations and activities as well, and I am delighted to share some—just observations of my own in this role at the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE). As Irina said, this is a project that’s housed at Mobility International USA since 1995. But we’re sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, really, in order to promote the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the U.S. and other countries, and that is to say kind of to the end we provide tips and strategies for people with disabilities and international program staff on how to prepare for an inclusive international exchange. So, before I kind of dive in, I just wanted to define these terms a little bit because it’s not always clear what we mean by international exchange. But, basically, we’re talking about everything from study abroad, teach abroad, volunteering, research, professional visitor exchanges. Also, cultural like arts, sports programs. So try to picture a U.S. college student going abroad for a semester or an international student coming to the U.S., a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright scholars, and so on. And we’re—the genesis of this project is really because people with disabilities are taking advantage of these same opportunities as nondisabled people in order to advance their educational/career goals, their personal goals. And that kind of brings me to kind of another definition—a loose definition—that people often wonder, well, what do you mean by people with disabilities, and by that that includes people with physical or mobility disabilities, sensory disabilities, chronic health conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities. That includes mental health disabilities, neurodiversity learning disabilities. And then keep in mind that disabilities can be apparent or nonapparent. And then also somebody’s disability might be apparent certain times and not others—for example, if they use assistive devices on some days but don’t need them on other days. So one topic that I really—is close to our hearts in our world is this theme of disability as diversity, and I saw on the roster—I was really excited to see that there were some folks who registered who are, for example, the director of diversity and inclusion, DEI specialists, and so on, and it’s so encouraging to see that higher education is really embracing this diversity, equity, and inclusion, implementing DEI strategies kind of throughout all areas of higher ed. And so, with this in mind it’s really vital to recognize that disability is part of diversity and not separate from it. Too often folks want to separate the two. Or, disability is an aspect of diversity that can get overlooked in diversity initiatives, we find, too often. So that inclusion of people with disabilities is really fundamental to be able to—and acting on that commitment to diversity at the institutional level. And then, for many, disability is an important facet of their identity, connecting someone to a larger disability community—for instance, disability pride, disability culture, history, and more. So it’s really important to keep that in mind in any discussion related to DEI. And just as important, many people with disabilities have identities in addition to their disability identity. So, for example, a person with a disability can also be a person of color, a first-generation college student, LGBTQ, an immigrant. And so one thing that we find often when we’re talking to people with disabilities about their experience is, there was so much focus on my disability that we completely forgot—(laughs)—to talk about these other aspects of myself that are important to me. So I think that’s definitely a good lesson. If anyone out there is more interested in this topic of disability intersectionality, I want to just kind of do a little plug for a publication that I’m really excited about that we put forth last year on Intersections Abroad, which I’m holding up to the screen. I think it might be blurred out, unfortunately, but—(laughs)—oh, here we go. FASKIANOS: It’s a little blurry but we’ll— HOLBEN: It’s a little blurry. FASKIANOS: (Inaudible)—anyway. HOLBEN: But it’s Intersections Abroad: “Travelers with disabilities explore identity and diversity through a lens of international exchange.” So it’s a series of travelers’ stories, interviews with people with different types of disabilities including people who are blind or have chronic health conditions or who are on the autism spectrum but who also want to describe what their study abroad experiences in different countries was like as a person of color or as someone with a religious identity or someone who brings all these unique experiences to their international exchange experience itself. For those of you who—I know we have a lot of different folks joining the call. On the higher education campus, people with disabilities not only includes students but also faculty, staff, administrators, campus leaders, visitors, and institutions often have dedicated staff or offices to support individual level disability accommodations and also to promote disability access more broadly across campus. So I noticed some folks who registered for this event come from, for example, Office of Student Accessibility, Office of Disability Services, Office of Student Support and Success. We had—I saw an access and accommodations coordinator, an ADA compliance coordinator. So these are all some examples of the types of folks who are working to help promote access at the—in higher education. You can also find counseling centers, tutoring centers. There are a growing number of campuses that are providing services tailored for students on the autism spectrum and also those that are tailored for students with intellectual disabilities, which is really interesting. And if you want to learn more about that I encourage you to check out the organization Think College. But in addition to campus accessibility and disability support services you’re going to find other entities that help promote disability community, disability history, disability rights, representation and visibility. For example, student groups led by and for students with disabilities. I saw one of the registrants—there were a couple of registrants on this event who are representing the Harvard Law School Project on Disability to, as they describe, use their learning in comparative and international law to advance understanding regarding disability law, policy, and education around the world. So it’s really exciting to see just kind of all the different ways in which higher education can support and promote disability access and inclusion in different ways in representation. Another topic that we are really passionate about at the NCDE is disability-inclusive campus internationalization, especially when it comes to the international exchange aspect of internationalization. So take education abroad, for instance. For the most part, I think a huge bulk of our resources relate to students—college students with disabilities who study abroad. That’s a big chunk of our resources, and we get a lot of questions about that from international exchange administrators and international study abroad advisors and coordinators about how can we provide some support to these students who want to study abroad who might have some specific disability-related accommodations they might need abroad, or everything from how can we attract students with disabilities to participate in our programs, and so on. So you’re going to find a lot of those types of resources in our library. But, education abroad that can also encompass faculty with disabilities leading trips abroad, and it’s really exciting to be able to connect with some faculty with disabilities who can share some of their stories with us about arranging these types of exchange programs. And the programs that they’re leading may or may not have a disability theme, depending on what their scholarly background is. However, I’ve observed that some education abroad curricula does include disability-related themes. So one example is at California State University in Northridge. One of their faculty led an exchange program called “Black Deaf Activism: Culture and Education in South Africa,” bringing together a lot of students from their campus who identify either as deaf, as Black, or both, and more. So that was really exciting to follow their journey through South Africa, again, with those different lenses. And then, of course, people with disabilities working in the international exchange field—in the international education field as advisors, administrators, and more, and that’s always something that we get really excited about at the Clearinghouse. We kind of proselytize a little bit to people with disabilities about, oh, have you thought about entering a career in international education so that we can see more disability representation and leadership within that field. A lot of students with disabilities are—and without disabilities are kind of blown away in a good way to see some of that disability representation in the kind of leadership level of that field and so that’s something that we try to encourage in some different ways that I’ll get to a little later. And then on the flip side of education abroad we also want to see disability-inclusive campus internationalization in the form of international student recruitment, so welcoming international students and scholars with disabilities to U.S. higher education, and that comprises another large segment of the resources housed at NCDE. So for those of you who advise international students and scholars on your campus or who are connected to the recruiting side to bring students with disabilities to the U.S., or bring international students to us, ESL offices and instructors. We want to work with them to make sure that they’re aware of the international students with disabilities. These are fantastic opportunities for them, too, and but they also might have some different cultural expectations related to disability. They might be used to a different type of system of accessibility and accommodations or a lack thereof. And, most recently we’ve talked to a lot of international students who are expressing an interest in connecting with other students with disabilities during their stay in the U.S., whether it’s other American students or other international students with disabilities. And so one thing that we’re excited to do in the near future is think of some ways that maybe we can help facilitate these types of connections on kind of a peer-mentor type model. Another focus of campus internationalization can be offering coursework on international disability rights. One prominent example in my mind is the University of Oregon’s “Global Perspectives on Disability” course because it’s co-taught by MIUSA’s own CEO, Susan Sygall, who is a woman with a disability, and what’s interesting is that that course is cross listed on campus with international studies, special education, and disability studies. So, you know, disability is such a cross-cutting issue. There’s really no topic or department or educational focus that doesn’t—that can’t touch upon disability, inclusion, and access. And so the “Global Perspectives on Disability” course at the U of O is one that’s been running for several years and it’s fantastic. We’re able to bring some guest presenters who are often disabled women leaders from countries around the world to share about their experiences in disability rights, disability policy, movement building, and so on. And then, one last example I’ll share, but not to say the last one, is access to foreign language learning and ESL and really ensuring that, you know, those are so vital to promoting campus internationalization and often they’re linked to these international exchange experiences, education abroad, and so on. But, sometimes we hear from people with disabilities that they were discouraged from taking a foreign language class because of assumptions about what they’re able to do. So, for example, like a person who is deaf, there might be some assumptions that they can’t participate in a foreign language class. And so, we would really promote any person with a disability to see if learning a foreign language is something that would help further their goals, personal, career wise, or otherwise. And so, I do want to hear your—all of your questions and your—not just questions but also just sharing from your experiences. But before we do that, I do want to just say a little bit about NCDE resources so that you’re aware of what we have in our library. That is to say they all touch on this crossover of disability inclusion in international exchange and include everything from tips for recruiting people with disabilities in international exchange programs, disability-specific tips for international travel. So, if your wheelchair gets broken when you’re abroad, what might you do? Or, what are some different types of accommodations that a blind student might use or someone with dyslexia might use? Best practices from various U.S. higher education institutions. And I think that’s going to really appeal to the folks who are on this webinar today. We have—just like we’ve been able to interview international exchange alumni, students who’ve come back from their experiences abroad, and others, we’ve also really relied on higher ed professionals to share their best practices with us because, really, our resource is a compendium of expertise from the field. And so I would really encourage anyone here who maybe they have a best practice to share from their own campus that they’re working on and we would love to be able to add that as a resource to be able to share with our broader community. So if that’s of interest please get in touch. We also offer sample disability accommodation forms and questionnaires, which is really handy for those out there who are wanting to start a conversation around disability access but maybe don’t know the—don’t have the vocabulary or don’t have the language. These are kind of helpful guides that can help you take those next steps. And then, finally, one thing that I am really excited to share because this is a new—relatively new initiative on our part is we’ve started hosting an access to exchange externship for—and this is a resource you can share with your students—this is for students with disabilities, recent graduates and others, who want to use their experiences to further the mission to promote disability inclusion in international exchange. So they’re tasked with coming up with some kind of either a webinar or event or a country guide, some kind of resource that can help further this mission. And so some of them have created resources for peers like prospective study abroad students with disabilities or for the folks who are working in the international education field so that they can be more cognizant of—you know, from a disabled person’s point of view what are the supports needed or what can they be doing. And then our seminar—access to exchange seminar is for people with disabilities who have not had any international exchange experiences and, you know, or maybe it’s a little intimidating to take that first step, and so our seminar is really just trying to break it down and make it feel a little bit more comfortable to ask questions and help try to just instill some confidence in future international exchange participants with disabilities. So, well, let me stop there for the time being and let me put it to all of you. What I’d like to know is, given, again, just this very—all of the different types of departments and expertise that you’re all bringing with you today what are some of your own experiences, observations, activities, around disability inclusion on your campus and in international affairs. So I’d really like to hear from you all and I wonder if anyone would like to start. FASKIANOS: Great. Great. Thank you, Ashley. This is terrific and, yes, we want to go to everybody on the call. You can click the raised hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or tablet click the more button to access the raised hand feature, and when I call on you, you can accept the unmute prompt. Please state your name and affiliation followed by your question. You can also write your question in the Q&A box. If you do that, please say who you are. And we do have our first written question from Pearl Robinson, who is an associate professor at Tufts University: Does the Peace Corps offer opportunities for people with disabilities? HOLBEN: Thank you for that question. Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Absolutely. The Peace Corps encourages people with disabilities to participate in—as volunteers and, indeed, we have seen so many returned Peace Corps volunteers with disabilities come back and share their experiences. I think I referred earlier to a person who was discouraged from learning a language because she’s deaf, and she often shares, she really pushed back against that, insisted she wants to learn French and one of the happy results of her advocating for herself to be able to pursue French despite being discouraged from doing so is it enabled her to be able to serve in the Peace Corps in Francophone Cameroon, which was a life-changing event for her. And, actually, I know that there is an upcoming webinar that’s going to be hosted by a Peace Corps staff on volunteers with disabilities that will feature a number of returned Peace Corps volunteers. And so if that—I think that is coming up pretty soon. So I’ll share that information with Pearl individually or unless other people are interested I can share with you, Irina. But also the Peace Corps also has opportunities for shorter-term programs for folks with unique expertise and who have a specific area of specialized focus. And so we recently interviewed someone who took part in that program—it’s called Peace Corps Response—which worked out really well for her because she has some chronic health conditions and mobility disabilities that made that format work quite well for her. But, yes, we have lots of returned Peace Corps stories on our website about people with different types of disabilities who served and it’s really fun to read their stories and just really eye-opening as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have another question from Deena Mansour with the Mansfield Center: We’ve appreciated using some of your resources on our State Department exchanges. Could you speak to some of the most important ways you prepared others in a cohort, a predeparture orientation to support a colleague with disabilities, given that many countries have less—far less exposure and support than we have had in the U.S.? HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yeah. I would say—and that’s fantastic that you’re working with—being able to implement State Department exchanges as well. We’re really excited by any time we can provide resources related to, for instance, the Global UGRAD program or the Mandela Fellowship or Fulbright, whatever it might be. And then, as for predeparture orientations, this has been a topic that we’ve explored both in terms of international students coming to the U.S., which we just kind of put—created some new resources for that. But it sounds like what you’re asking is for folks going abroad—maybe coming from the U.S. and going abroad. I think it’s just really important that people with disabilities who are preparing to go abroad are—have a chance to research a bit about the country’s disability rights—not only disability rights laws but disability culture and context. We really encourage folks to try to do outreach to a disability-led organization, if possible, and some people who’ve been able to do that it’s led to a really fruitful relationship and really enhanced their experience to be able to meet with local people with disabilities who can share kind of the real experience on the ground, what it might be like. I think a lot of people are also—maybe aren’t prepared for just the feeling of kind of being—standing out and others are unprepared for—well, just to use an example from our Intersections Abroad publication that I shared earlier, one student who studied abroad who is blind, she really thought that people would only be interested in her blindness and only have questions about her blindness, and she was really surprised that when she arrived people had wanted to know about other things about her, too. And so I think just allowing some room for all aspects of yourself there can be really beneficial. It’s something that sounds simple but people might forget. And so kind of evaluating different identities that you have, what you want to get out of the experience. But it sounds like what you’re asking about is kind of more just on-the-ground—those logistics, those environmental barriers. And you can’t foresee all of them, but I think just one thing that’s really helpful is just getting an idea of, how do people in that destination approach disability access because, if you call a hotel or something like that and you say is this going to be disability accessible, I really encourage just trying to get a little bit more specific, because they might say yes because their idea of disability access is having some burly people lift you up over some stairs, whereas that might not be at all your idea of accessibility. And so some of these things you’re not going to know until you arrive. But if you can connect with another—a person with a similar disability who has traveled abroad or someone who has gone to the place where you’re going that can really be helpful, or talking to locals with disabilities. And then our resource library, that’s one of the things that, I think—I really hope is helpful to folks planning their trips abroad is to be able to read about the experiences of other travelers and kind of the types of things unexpected that they encountered during their travels that might help other folks just get into that mindset of what might be on the horizon. FASKIANOS: There’s a question from Kwaku Obosu-Mensah at Lorain County Community College: Do students with disabilities need special insurance to travel abroad in an exchange program? HOLBEN: That’s a great—thanks for that question. Not always. Some students who have maybe chronic health conditions have been able—sometimes their study abroad program, for instance, has been able to negotiate, like, a group rate of health insurance for—for example, if it’s a group of students who are going abroad, in case there’s some additional coverage needed related to preexisting conditions or disabilities. However, we’re also seeing a best practice in the form of international exchange departments and offices budgeting for some funds to be able to provide for students with disabilities in those instances where something’s not going to be covered by. It’s kind of an extenuating circumstance, whether it’s related to getting access to health care, kind of an emergency fund, or being able to help pay for some private transportation when the local public transportation is not accessible, to use a couple of examples. So I think you’re going to have to—it’s really important to check with the insurance company and find out what their policies are around that but also to consider negotiating what they’re able to cover to be as inclusive as possible. And that’s not always going to be able to happen in that way, in which case those contingency funds are going to help supplement whatever the insurance is not able to. FASKIANOS: Great. And people can also raise their hand and ask their questions and share best practices. But I will have another question—written question—from Kimberly Pace, University of Alaska Anchorage, which goes along with Kwaku’s question, which was—you just answered about health care for students—faculty with disabilities when engaged in study abroad programs. So it’d be great if you could elaborate on that. HOLBEN: So, with health care, I guess just some additional considerations related to health includes mental health. Some folks with chronic health conditions might need to just get some—do some extra preparation—not only chronic health conditions but other types of disabilities. People with disabilities planning to go abroad will sometimes need to just take some extra steps for preparation, for example, those who are taking medications in the U.S. Certain types of ADHD medications in the U.S. are not legal in certain countries where people study abroad, and so trying to get information about what types of health care you’re able to receive abroad, what types of prescriptions you’re able to bring into the country abroad, working with your health care professionals about whether or not to adjust any medications prior to travel, and then where are you going to be able to access medical supplies in case yours get depleted or are lost or stolen or break—you know, where to go if your mobility equipment breaks. And we do have some tip sheets kind of on these different types of disability topics related to, what happens if you get into this dilemma, how can you try to, for example, keep your mobility equipment or your medications—how do you travel with those things in such a way that kind of helps mitigate some of the risks of having things break or confiscated or flagged or whatever it might be. So it’s not, like, a simple answer but it’s absolutely really important predeparture. Part of the —it’s part of the research. It’s part of the process for going abroad and, unfortunately, it typically means building in some extra time for planning to go abroad. So we always encourage students with disabilities, even if you think you might possibly go abroad at some point in your college career it’s not too early to start planning for it now and start looking into some of these questions, and some of the guides that we have on our website are helpful just for thinking through what those questions might be because, as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And people will often think, well, I’ve got that taken care of, no problem. But they’re only considering it from a home environment perspective and not really thinking about how, well, is the host city infrastructure going to be able to support this accessibility software that I use or whatever it might be. So not just in terms of health care but other types of accommodations as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Can you elaborate on the difference between access and inclusion? I think it would be helpful to give those. HOLBEN: Well, I don’t think there needs to be a broad difference. But one thing that I would want to emphasize is, there’s—on one hand, we’re talking about disability inclusion and how can we make sure that—they’re really—they go hand in hand. Inclusion is how can people with disabilities access these—all of the same programs, all of the same services—really, just kind of everything that nondisabled people can access and—but I think inclusion is not quite the full picture. It’s not really enough. And so what we would say is how can we go beyond inclusion—the inclusion piece—which is just making sure can you participate to sometimes you have to kind of take the first step to get people with disabilities to see these things as belonging to them or see these—sometimes people will self-select out of things because they’ve grown up with these messages that this isn’t for them, or they have to wait until it’s a special disability-focused program or activity for them to participate. And so one message that we tell people with disabilities is to kind of think of it as an infiltration where you’re, like, find these nondisability-focused activities and if you want to be part of it then be part of it. But on the flip side, we’re also thinking a lot about reverse infiltration, which is the folks that are managing different projects and opportunities and activities sometimes you might have to go out of your way a little bit to invite in people from the disability community, meet them where they are, really make sure that they are expected, anticipated. So it’s not really just enough to say, well, we wouldn’t turn a person with a disability away so that makes us inclusive but, really, how can you be more proactive and intentional in your strategy to make sure that disability is represented. So I think that that would be one distinction. And then, furthermore, beyond just disability inclusion—are they participating—then I think another important step to look at is disability leadership, and so that’s kind of where—why I say we get really excited when people with disabilities are entering leadership positions in higher education, whether that’s working in the study abroad office or as faculty leaders and others who are taking part in these decision-making roles and, how can we create kind of a pipeline for people with disabilities to become leaders in these different areas and be that kind of next generation of leadership. So I would keep that at the forefront as well. FASKIANOS: Great. HOLBEN: And, you know— FASKIANOS: Uh-huh. HOLBEN: Oh, go ahead. FASKIANOS: Oh, I was just going to call on Kimberly Pace. She raised her hand. HOLBEN: Oh, perfect. Yes. Looking forward to hear Kimberly. FASKIANOS: From the University of Alaska Anchorage. Q: That’s brilliant. Oh, I’m just so appreciative of this forum, and thank you both so much. As a person with a physical disability it never occurred to me as a college student to ever go—even ask the question about study abroad and I—certainly, you’re blowing my mind that there are resources to allow students to do this. I teach international relations and comparative politics, and I am just beyond giddy that there—(laughter)—are options for students because that’s something that, personally, I, you know, never got to experience and never, certainly, was encouraged to do that. So I’m very excited. I just want to say thank you very much for the information. So thank you. HOLBEN: We’re right there with you, Kimberly, as far as the giddy factor. And, you know, thank you so much for sharing that experience because, actually, that is—I think that inclusive, that welcoming, encouraging messaging is so important and we kind of go into detail about that on one of our tip sheets about inclusive recruitment. But even just something as simple as a message on an opportunity that says people with disabilities encouraged to apply, you never know who that’s going to make all the difference in the world to and one prime example is our organization, Mobility International USA, might not exist if our CEO, who is a wheelchair rider, hadn’t done her Rotary exchange program in Australia, which kind of spawned this idea of what Mobility International USA should be, and what led her to participate in that Rotary exchange program was seeing just a simple ad in the newspaper that said people with disabilities encouraged to apply. And who was responsible for putting in that little line? We’re not sure. But it kind of led to this chain of events that kind of brought us to where we are here. And, you know, there are so many folks in the field in higher education who are—they don’t have all the answers and they don’t have a lot of—they might not have personal experience with disability. But I think if they can help be a champion, an ally, and be kind of someone who says, well, let’s figure this out, or let’s see what’s possible and not shut it down, I think that that’s often what has led to all of these amazing outcomes and impact stories from the folks who have shared their experiences with us on our website and then who knows how many more are out there. So, sounds simple, but it can have an important impact. FASKIANOS: So we have a written question from Mark Scheinbaum, who’s at the Florida International University: What updates or guidance do you have for students with de jure and/or de facto comfort pets that are needed for completion of usual and customary academic tasks? HOLBEN: If you can leave the questions up a little longer. Then I can— FASKIANOS: Oh, sure. Sure. Sorry. HOLBEN: That’s OK. FASKIANOS: I’ll put it back. HOLBEN: Well, I would just, first of all, make sure that you’re familiarizing yourself with the distinction between—you kind of use two different terms here. So there are comfort animals or emotional support animals, and then there are service animals, which are trained to do a specific service. Comfort animals and emotional support animals aren’t necessarily trained to perform a specific service related to a disability-related accommodation whereas a service animal is. So maybe that service is helping to detect the onset of an epileptic seizure, or the service is being able to help the person open doors or pick up items from the floor, or, of course, sight dogs for folks who are blind or visually impaired, for mobility. And so, anyway, that’s going to be a really key distinction for whether or not it’s going to be appropriate to have a service animal or an emotional support animal in a higher education setting, and especially that becomes more complicated when you’re talking about going abroad to another country where you’re also considering factors—not just the laws but also the cultural factors whether dogs are welcome in every restaurant or if it’s an animal that’s very taboo and you don’t keep them as pets, let alone travel around with them. And so all of those questions are going to come into play. We do have some tip sheets on our website that go into more detail around some preparation for bringing animals abroad, what you should know related to quarantine, vaccinations, and things like that. So search for animals on the MIUSA website to access some of those tips. FASKIANOS: Great, and we’ll send out links to that section, Ashley, after this so people can access it easier. HOLBEN: Oh, great. Yeah. FASKIANOS: So another written question from Erin Reed, and I will leave it up so you can see it— HOLBEN: Oh, thanks. FASKIANOS:—who’s the student services and admissions advisor/DSO at California State University San Marcos: What are your suggestions for a university study abroad program that is not made aware of a student’s disability prior to the student’s arrival? HOLBEN: I think my number-one suggestion would be rather than waiting for one student to participate start thinking about it now what are some ways we can build in some inclusive practices into our programming. So one thing that some programs might do is, well, maybe people aren’t disclosing their disability because we’re not giving them the opportunity to do so. So including questions in some of those post-acceptance forums that ask how can we make this program—how can we help set you up for success in this program. Might also ask specifically, including related to disability accommodations so that folks know that—I think it’s really important for prospective students or otherwise to just know that they’re being anticipated, that someone is thinking, yes, like, we’re totally expecting that at some point some students with disabilities will participate in this program. And I think that that can be—really signal to students, OK, this—we’re coming from a place that or we’re going to be interacting with folks who are anticipating me and, even if they don’t know all the answers to my questions they’re not going to shut me down. So I think that some of those types of—whether it’s just amending some of your forms or putting information on your program website, having inclusive images such as if there are images of people with apparent disabilities participating in the program, seeing themselves reflected in those images can be just as important as an inclusive written message. Let me go back to that question. Sorry. It went away again. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: If you click on the answered question. HOLBEN: I got it. Yeah. FASKIANOS: OK. And then I have two more written questions. Everybody’s sending in their questions at the end here. (Laughs.) HOLBEN: But just also, going back to Erin Reed’s question, if the program—it sounds like, we didn’t know that there was a student with a disability planning to arrive. Now we—we have this—these things that we need to figure out in the meantime. One more thing I’ll just say about how to maybe avoid that situation is working with—oh, this is so important—collaborating with the disability services office and other similar services on the campus to be able to arrange some kind of system. So a lot of institutions—for example, their study abroad offices will share a list of all of the students who are enrolled in study abroad for that upcoming semester and they’ll share it with the disability services office so that they can kind of go through and say, oh, well, we recognize—and this is all just privately on the disability services side to protect the students’ privacy—but they will kind of flag, oh, this is a student that we work with. And so what they might then do is connect with that student directly and say, hey, we learned that you’re going abroad—do you want to talk about some of the questions you might have or is there anything that we can do to support you and can we—are you comfortable with inviting those—the international advisors into this conversation so that we can just kind of put everything out in the open and we can figure out all the best ways to support the—that student. So, I would say, that’s so important that we used to at NCDE pay people to take each other to lunch from the study abroad office and the disability services office because too often we heard, oh, yeah, they’re just right across the—you know, their office is literally right over there. I can see them from our office. But we’ve never talked to them or—and we don’t really know what they do. So I think just to have it breaking some of that ice early on and not waiting for the time when there’s a student with a disability there but just kind of building that into your process, and that can also be helpful for collecting data as well. The Institute for International Education has an annual Open Door survey that provides data and statistics around who is participating in an international exchange and they’ve started including a question—some questions related to disability so that, hopefully, over time we can kind of see is disability—are people with disabilities being represented in international exchange in greater numbers, what types of disabilities do they have, and so on. So working with the disability support office is one great way to also collect that type of information too, which is going to really help the field and, hopefully, help more people with disabilities to be able to participate in international exchange. FASKIANOS: So we have a question from Andrew Moran from London Metropolitan University: In the U.K. inclusion is not just about access or being in a classroom. It is also about inclusive assessment methods. I wonder if you have any resources—if you know of any resources that suggest assessment methods that would allow neurodiverse or physically disabled students to fully engage and not be excluded. They’ve done away with exams because you can’t rely on an elevator to work to get to an exam room, let alone the barriers in the exam might pose for neurodiverse students. And he’s leading a working group on allowing students to choose, create their own assessment method to enable greater diversity and meet students’ needs but always looking for new ideas. HOLBEN: Oh, that’s really interesting. Thanks so much for sharing that, Andrew, and for sharing the example at your own institution as well. And I would love to hear other folks respond to this, too. As far as—one, again, I would really encourage you to check out Think College as a prospective resource for—especially just because you mention neurodiverse students. So Think College operates at different campuses right now—for now, I think, only in the U.S. Perhaps their network is growing beyond that as well. But it’s kind of this network of professionals who work with—to try to get students not only with intellectual disabilities but also those who are neurodiverse, including those who are on the autism spectrum. And so they are really a fantastic source of expertise for everything from inclusive education or specialized support and accommodations and pedagogy. So I think that they would be probably the ones to connect with about this question in particular. But if other folks have other ideas in response to Andrew, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it. And maybe while we’re thinking of that, we’ll check out this next one. FASKIANOS: Right. McKennah Andrews with the Mansfield Center: We have a blind participant on an upcoming international program taking place here in the U.S., and MIUSA’s resources have been so valuable. Can we touch on the topic of personal assistants? What advice or testimonies might you have regarding engaging with personal assistants during a program? HOLBEN: Yes, absolutely. So personal assistants can look like a couple—many different things, actually. You might even—since you mentioned having a blind participant, this might not be what you meant but some—for some folks who are blind they may have had some sighted guides during their exchange programs abroad. So that’s another example where a student who—or a person who is used to one type of access accommodation or assistive devices or technology in their home environment might have to look into some different ones for their host environment. So we’ve known some people who are really—have great cane skills for orientation and mobility and strong independent mobility skills in their home environment but have felt more comfortable having the program help arrange a sighted guide for them when they’re going to, perhaps, countries where—or environments that are a little more chaotic or where, for whatever reason, their usual skills might not work out. Or, again, if that person uses a service dog in—or service animal in their home environment and that wouldn’t really be feasible in the home environment then having that kind of human guide or a personal assistant might be one method that they look into. Personal assistants might also provide everyday living services—you know, feeding or using the bathroom or just getting ready throughout the day, assisting with lifting and transferring, and that’s going to—might—again, as somebody who—we’ve seen some instances where people in the U.S. who don’t use personal assistant services might opt for that when they’re going to a place where, you know, they might need to be lifted more often because the infrastructure is not as—going to be as smooth or not as accessible. And so we’ve seen different situations where sometimes they are—the personal assistant in question is someone they’ve worked with a long time in the U.S. Sometimes it might be a peer who attends their school. Sometimes it’s a parent who travels. I’ve definitely seen all kind of different types of—oh, and also a local person that’s hired in the country to provide personal assistant care. So it’s really interesting just to kind of be aware of all of the different ways that that might look and check out—again, we have a specific tip sheet about that—actually, a series related to personal assistant services. So, yes, we can talk about personal assistant services and we have kind of a suite of resources related to that so there’s a lot that can be said. So thanks for bringing that up. FASKIANOS: Terrific. We are almost out of time, and I did see that there was a raised hand from Justice Chuckwu— HOLBEN: Fantastic. Let’s hear from Justice. FASKIANOS: —disability rights, Oregon. He lowered his hand but—oh, there we go. And if you can ask it quickly and unmute yourself that would be great. HOLBEN: I think we’ve met before, Justice. Hello. HOLBEN: Oh, hi. There’s Justice. Q: Hello. HOLBEN: Hello. Q: Yeah, I think we met a couple times. Yeah. So my name is Justice and, yeah, I’m so much appreciative of this program. And I always have a simple question and the question is how do we—how do we unify orientation for international students with disabilities, given the fact that they come from different backgrounds and most times there are just maybe one or two or three in one university or one college and may not be able to really understand the environment early enough. Maybe by the time they would get to understand the environment they might be getting to the mid-semester. So my question is, is there a way to kind of unify the orientation, especially since we now have online—things could be done online to unify the orientation to make sure that students—international students with disabilities are not left behind. HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yes. Thank you, Justice. And, actually, it was your bringing that to light that kind of got—we started incorporating that question into some of our resources and, in fact, you helped contribute to one of our webinars on this very topic of support for international students with disabilities coming to different campuses in which you kind of described that feeling of how do I connect with other people with disabilities, especially other international students with disabilities, who might be able to share in some of these experiences so I don’t feel so alone in this. And I really—that really sparked a lot of ideas but one of which is, might there be some kind of opportunity for a student group of international students with disabilities but bringing together students from different campuses to be able to share their experiences. And so that’s something that we at the NCDE are exploring more. But as for existing resources, in addition to the webinar that Justice contributed to we also added some others related to just sharing some best practices from our—MIUSA leads an orientation for high school exchange students with disabilities who are arriving to the U.S. for a State Department-funded scholarship program and we—as part of this orientation we incorporate information about your rights as a person with disabilities while you’re in the U.S. and how to advocate for yourself if there’s something that you need but aren’t getting, how to fully participate in all of the opportunities while you’re there. So I think that those are the—some of the same messages that could be really beneficial to folks entering U.S. higher education from different parts of the world and just learning about U.S. disability culture and those steps for taking advantage of all of the resources available to you. So, yeah, you’re absolutely right, Justice. There’s more work to be done, and I think folks like you who are voicing kind of those needs—those firsthand gaps that you’ve identified is kind of one of the first steps in helping to build out some of these resources. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are out of time. In fact, we’re a little over. HOLBEN: Oh. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: So, Ashley Holben, thank you so much for doing this. We really appreciate it, and to all of you for your questions and comments. Again, we will be sending out a link to this webinar transcript as well as to the resources that Ashley mentioned. So stay tuned for that. Our next Higher Education Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Jeremi Suri, who will lead a conversation on teaching the history of American democracy. And just please do follow us at @CFR_Academic and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. Ashley, again, thank you very much for doing this. We appreciate it. HOLBEN: Thank you. Thank you for—to everyone who attended for your time and thanks to CFR for getting this on the agenda. I really appreciate it also. FASKIANOS: Great. We look forward to everybody continuing to participate in this Higher Education Webinar series. Have a good rest of your day. (END)

Education

Mike Hoa Nguyen, assistant professor of education, faculty affiliate at the Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and faculty affiliate at the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University, leads the conversation on affirmative action. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, Vice President of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Mike Hoa Nguyen with us to discuss affirmative action. Dr. Nguyen is assistant professor of education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He’s also a faculty affiliate at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and a faculty affiliate at NYU’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change. Additionally, Dr. Nguyen is a principal investigator of the Minority Serving Institutions Data Project. And prior to coming to NYU he was at the University of Denver. He has extensive professional experience in the federal government and has managed multiple complex, long-term intergovernmental projects and initiatives, focusing on postsecondary education and the judiciary and has published his work widely, including in Educational Researcher, The Journal of Higher Education, and The Review of Higher Education. So Mike, thanks very much for being with us today to talk about affirmative action. Could you give us an overview of where we are, the history of affirmative action, where we are now, and examples of criteria that are used by different institutions? NGUYEN: Well, hello. And thank you so much, Irina. And also thank you to the Council on Foreign Relations for having me here today. It’s a real honor. And thank you to many of you who are joining us today out of your busy schedules. I’m sure that many of you have been following the news for Harvard and UNC. And, of course, those cases were just heard at the Supreme Court about a month ago, on Halloween. And so today thank you for those questions. I’d love to be able to spend a little bit of time talking about the history of sort of what led us to this point. I also recognize that many joining us are also experts on this topic. So I really look forward to the conversation after my initial remarks. And so affirmative action, I think, as Philip Rubio has written, comes from centuries-old English legal concept of equity, right, or the administration of justice according to what is fair in a particular situation, as opposed to rigidly following a set of rules. It’s defined by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1977 as a term that is a broad—a term, in a broad sense, that encompasses any measure beyond a simple termination of discriminatory practice adopted to correct for past or present discrimination or to prevent discrimination from recurring in the future. Academics have defined affirmative action simply as something more than passive nondiscrimination, right. It means various organizations must act positively, affirmatively, and aggressively to remove all barriers, however informal or subtle, that prevent access by minorities and women to their rightful places in the employment and educational institutions of the United States. And certainly one of the earliest appearances of this term, affirmative action, in government documents came when President Kennedy, in his 1961 executive order, where he wrote that the mandate stated that government contractors, specifically those that were receiving federal dollars to, quote, take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and employees are treated during employment without regard of their race, creed, color, or national origin. Certainly President Kennedy created a committee on equal employment opportunity to make recommendations for this. And then later on President Johnson later expressed—I’m sorry—expanded on President Kennedy’s approach to take a sort of more active antiracist posture, which he signaled in a commencement speech at Howard University. In the decades following, of course, political-legal attacks have rolled back on how affirmative action can be implemented and for what purposes. So in admissions practices at U.S. colleges and universities today, really they can only consider race as one of many factors through a holistic process or holistic practices if so-called race-neutral approaches to admissions policies have fallen short in allowing for a campus to enroll a racially diverse class in order to achieve or reap the benefits of diversity, the educational benefits of diversity. Federal case law established by the courts have affirmed and reaffirmed that colleges may only consider race as one of many factors for the purposes of obtaining the educational benefits in diversity. So starting with the Bakke decision in the late 1970s, the Court limited the consideration of race in admissions and replaced the rationale for the use of race, specifically the rationale which was addressing historic and ongoing racism or systemic and racial oppression, instead in favor of the diversity rationale. So, in other words, if a college or university wishes to use race in their admissions, they can only do so with the intention of enhancing the educational benefits of all students. It may not legally use race as a part of their admissions process for the purpose of acknowledging historical or contemporary racism as barriers to equity in college access. If we fast-forward to something more recent, the two cases out of Michigan, the Grutter and Gratz case, what we saw there were really—significant part of the discussions of these two cases were really informed and conversations really about the educational benefits of diversity. That was really a key aspect of those cases. Lawsuits challenging the use of race in college admissions after those two cases now can sort of be traced to Edward Blum, a conservative activist, and his organization, Students for Fair Admission, or SFFA. So Blum has really dedicated his life to establishing what he calls a colorblind American society by filing lawsuits with the goal of dismantling laws and policies seeking to advance racial justice. This includes redistricting, voting rights, and, of course, affirmative action. So in 2000—in the 2000s, he recruited Abigail Fisher to challenge the University of Texas in their admissions program. The Court, the Supreme Court, ultimately ruled in favor of Texas in the second Fisher case—Fisher II, as we call it. And so that’s actually where we saw Ed Blum alter his tactics. In this case he established SFFA, where he then purposefully recruited Asian Americans as plaintiffs in order to sue Harvard and UNC. So the cases now at Harvard—are now certainly at the Supreme Court. But one sort of less-known case that hasn’t got a whole lot of attention, actually, was—that was sort of on the parallel track, actually originated from the U.S. Department of Justice more recently, during the Trump administration, which launched an investigation into Yale’s admissions practices, which also focus on Asian Americans. And this was around 2018, so not too long ago. And certainly Asian Americans have been engaged in affirmative action debate since the 1970s. But these lawsuits have really placed them front and center in sort of our national debate. And so I think it’s really important to also note that while empirical research demonstrates and shows that the majority of Asian Americans are actually in support of affirmative action, a very vocal minority of Asian Americans are certainly opposed to race-conscious admissions and are part of these lawsuit efforts. But interestingly enough, they’ve received a large and disproportionate share of media attention and sort of—I stress this only because I think popular press and media have done a not-so-great job at reporting on this. And their framing, I think, sometimes relies on old stereotypes, harmful stereotypes, about Asian Americans, and written in a way that starts with an assumption that all Asian Americans are opposed to affirmative action when, again, empirical research and national polls show that that’s certainly not the case, right, and much more complex than that. But anyway, so back to what I was saying earlier, in sort of the waning months of the Trump administration the Department of Justice used those investigations into Yale to file a lawsuit charging that Yale in its admissions practices discriminates against Asian Americans. This lawsuit, the DOJ lawsuit, was dropped in February of 2021 when President Biden took office. So in response to that, SFFA submitted its own lawsuit to Yale based upon similar lines of reasoning. So I think what’s—why bring this up? One, because it doesn’t get a lot of attention. But two, I think it’s a really interesting and curious example. So in the Yale case, as well as in the previous DOJ complaint, Ed Blum notes specifically that they exclude Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Laotian Americans, and Vietnamese Americans from the lawsuit, and thus from his definition of what and who counts as Asian American. I think this intentional exclusion of specific Southeast Asian American groups in Yale, but including them in Harvard, is a really interesting and curious note. I’ve written in the past that, sort of at the practical level, it’s a bit—it’s not a bit—it’s a lot misleading. It’s manipulative and advances a bit of a false narrative about Asian Americans. And I think it engages in what we call sort of a racial project to overtly reclassify the Asian American racial category, relying again on old stereotypes about Asian American academic achievement. But it also sort of counters state-based racial and ethnic classifications used by the Census Bureau, used by the Department of Education, used by OMB, right. It does not consider how Southeast Asian Americans have been and are racialized, as well as how they’ve built pan-ethnic Asian American coalitions along within and with other Asian American subgroups. So the implications of this sort of intentional racialized action, I think, are threefold. First, this process, sort of trying to redefine who is Asian American and who isn’t, demonstrates that SFFA cannot effectively argue that race-conscious admissions harms Asian Americans. They wouldn’t be excluded if that was the case. Second, it illustrates that Ed Blum and his crusade for sort of race—not using race in college admissions is actually really not focused on advancing justice for Asian Americans, as he claims. And then finally, I think that this maneuver, if realized, will really disenfranchise educational access and opportunity for many Asian Americans, including Southeast Asian Americans and other communities of color. Of course, this case hasn’t received a lot of attention, given that we just heard from Harvard and UNC at the Supreme Court about a month ago. But I think it provides some really important considerations regarding the upcoming Supreme Court decision. Nonetheless the decision for Harvard and UNC, we’re all sort of on pins and needles until we hear about it in spring and summer. And I was there in Washington for it, and so what I’d actually like to do is actually share some interesting notes and items that sort of struck out to me during the oral arguments. So I think in both cases we heard the justices ask many questions regarding the twenty-five-year sunset of using race in college admissions, right, something that Justice O’Connor wrote in the Michigan case. I think the solicitor general, Solicitor General Prelogar’s response at the conclusion of the case was really insightful. She said—and I’m sort of paraphrasing here about why we—in addressing some of the questions about that twenty-five-year sunset, she basically said that society hasn’t made enough progress yet. The arc of progress is slower than what the Grutter court had imagined. And so we just suddenly don’t hit 2028—that’s twenty-five years from the decision—and then, snap, race is not used in college admissions anymore. There was also a lot of discussion regarding proxy approaches to so-called race-neutral admissions, right, yet still being able to maintain some or similar levels of racial diversity. I think what we know from a lot of empirical research out there is that there’s really no good proxy variables for race. Certainly Texas has its 10 percent plan, which really only works to a certain extent and does not actually work well for, say, private schools that draw students from across all fifty states and the territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific. And again, as the solicitor general stated, it doesn’t work well for the service academies either, for really similar reasons. I do think the line of questioning from the chief justice again related to what sounded like a carveout exemption for our U.S. military schools, our service academies. What’s really interesting, and might be of actually specific interest for the CFR community, of course, our service academies practice affirmative action and are in support of it. And this was also argued in an amicus brief written by retired generals and admirals. And they argued that race-conscious admissions is necessary to build a diverse officer corps at both the service academies as well as ROTC programs at various universities across the country, which, in their words, they say builds a more cohesive, collaborative, and effective fighting unit, especially, quote, given recent international conflicts and humanitarian crises which require our military to perform civil functions and call for heightened cultural awareness and sensitivity in religious issues. And so, to a certain extent, I think that same line of logic can also be extended to, for example, our diplomatic corps, and certainly many corporations. We also saw briefs from the field of medicine, from science and research, have all written in support of race-conscious admissions, along the same sort of pipeline issues as their companies and organizations. And they argue that their work benefits from a highly educated, diverse workforce. But what was interesting, was that there wasn’t much discussion about Asian Americans. It was only brought up sort of a handful of times, despite the fact that certainly that’s sort of the origin story of the sets of lawsuits. And perhaps—to me perhaps this is simply an indication that the case was really never about Asian Americans from the beginning. And certainly the finding from the district court shows that Asian Americans are not discriminated in this process at Harvard. And so we will all sort of see how the Court rules next year, if they uphold precedent or not, and if they do not, how narrow or how broad they will go. Justice Barrett did have an interesting question in the UNC part of the case about affinity groups and affinity housing on campus. So, for example, my undergraduate alma mater, UC Berkeley, has this for several groups. They have affinity housing for Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, women in STEM, the LGBTQ+ community, Latinx students, among many, many others, actually. So I think a possible area of concern is if they go broad, will we see a ban on these types of race-based practices on campus? Would that impact sort of thinking about recruitment efforts? So these so-called race-neutral approaches, sort of recruitment and outreach services for particular communities. Or would that impact something like HBCUs and tribal colleges, HSIs and AANAPISIs, or other MSIs? How does that all fit in, right? I think that line of questioning sort of sparked a bit of concern from folks and my colleagues. But I think, though, in conversation, we don’t think the Court has really any appetite to go that far. And I’m certainly inclined to agree. But end of the day, that line of questioning was rather curious. And so, with that, I thank you for letting me share some of my thinking and about what’s going on. And I would really love to be able to engage in conversation with all of you. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you so much. And we’d love to hear now from you all questions and comments, and if you could share how things are happening on your campuses. Please raise—click on the raised-hand icon on your screen to ask a question. If you’re on an iPad or tablet, you can click the More button to access the raised-hand feature. I’ll call on you, and then accept the unmute prompt, state your name and affiliation, followed by your question. You can also submit a written question in the Q&A box or vote for questions that have been written there. And if you do write your question, it would be great if you could write who you are. I’m going to go first to a raised hand, Morton Holbrook. And there you go. Q: I’m there, yeah. Morton Holbrook from Kentucky Wesleyan College in Kentucky. Thanks, Professor Nguyen. Sort of a two-part question here. One is, how do you reconcile apparent public support for affirmative action with the number of states, I think ten or twelve states, that have banned affirmative action? Are their legislators just out of touch with their people, or what? And the second part is, a recent article in the Washington Post about UC Berkeley’s experience, where the number of African American students simply plummeted down to about 3 percent, and at the same time that campus is still very diverse in other respects. Have you made a study of all the states that have banned affirmative action? Have they all had that same result with regard to African Americans? Or where does that stand? Thank you. NGUYEN: Thank you. Thank you for the really excellent question. I think it’s about—I think you’re right—around nine, ten or so states that have banned affirmative action. You know, I’ll be completely honest with you. I’m really just familiar with the bans that were instituted both in California and in Michigan, and those were through state referendums, right, and not necessarily legislature. So in this case, this is the people voting for it. And so I think that’s a really tough nut to crack about how do you reconcile these bans at the state level versus sort of what we see at the national level. And so I think this is sort of the big challenge that advocates for racial equity are facing in places like California. They actually tried to repeal this in California recently, in the last decade. And again, that failed. And so I think part of the issue here is there’s a whole lot of misinformation out there. I think that’s one key issue. I sort of said in my opening remarks there that, at least in some of the popular media pieces today about these cases, the way Asian Americans are sort of understood and written about is really not aligned with a lot of the rich empirical research out there that shows quite the contrary, as well as sort of historical research that shows quite the contrary. And so I think there’s a lot of public opinion being formulated as well as, again, just sort of misinformation about the topic that might be leading folks to think one way or another. To your second question about UC Berkeley, my alma mater, you’re right. After that Prop 209 ban, you saw a huge decline in undergraduate enrollment, specifically of African American students. And so Berkeley has been trying every which way to figure out a race—a so-called race-neutral approach in order to increase those numbers. And I think they are trying to—they are really trying to figure it out. And I think that’s why UC Berkeley, UCLA, other institutions submitted amicus briefs in support of Harvard, in support of UNC, because they know that there are not a lot—when you can’t use race, that’s a result that you end up with. And that’s because there are just not good proxy variables for race. SES or economic status is often talked about a lot. That again isn’t a good variable. Geography can—to a certain extent can be used. All these can sort of certainly be used in some combination. But again, they do not serve well as proxy variables. And I think that’s why we see those numbers at Berkeley. And I think that’s why Berkeley was so invested in this case and why all those campus leaders submitted amicus briefs in support of Harvard and UNC. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question or first written question from Darko Spasevski, who’s at the University of Skopje, North Macedonia: Do you think that in order to have successful affirmative actions in the higher education this process should be followed by affirmative actions in the workplace? Are the benefits—if the affirmative actions are only promoted at the level of higher education but are not at the same time continuing at the workplace? I guess it would be the opposite. Is it—you know, basically, should affirmative action be promoted in the workplace as well— NGUYEN: Yeah, I think— FASKIANOS: —once you get past the higher education? NGUYEN: Got it. Yeah, I think I understand that question. Actually, this was something that came up during this recent Supreme Court case. Again, the solicitor general was talking about specifically the briefs from the retired generals and admirals, as well as from various executives and corporations, talking about how affirmative action is so important at the university level because then it helps build a pipeline to recruit folks to work at those organizations or serve in the military, as well as that it trains all students, right, and lets them access and achieve the benefits of diversity and use that in their future employment, which research from areas of management show that that increases work productivity. It increases their bottom line, et cetera, et cetera. And so actually, in that argument, the—I think it was Justice Alito that asked, are you now arguing for this in the private sector, in corporations? And the solicitor general quickly said no, no. The context of this lawsuit is specifically or the position of the United States is specifically just focused here on higher education. And I think that certainly is relevant for this conversation today, as well as sort of my own area of expertise. But I think my colleagues in the areas of management and a lot of that work shows, I think, similar types of results that, when you have diverse workforces, when you have folks who can reap the benefits of diversity interactions, interracial interactions, then there are certainly a lot of benefits that come from that, in addition to creativity, work efficiency, so many things. And so, again, I’m not here to sort of put a position down regarding affirmative action in professional settings, only because that’s not my area of expertise. But certainly other areas of research have pointed in similar directions as what’s sort of shown in the higher-education literature. FASKIANOS: (Off mic) Renteln? And let’s see if you can unmute yourself. If you click on the unmute prompt, you should be able to ask your question. Not working? Maybe not. OK, so I will read it. So— Q: Is it working now? FASKIANOS: It is, Alison. Go ahead. Q: Thank you. I’m sorry. It’s just usually it shows me when I’m teaching. Thank you for a really interesting, incisive analysis; really enjoyed it. I wanted to ask about whether it’s realistic to be able to implement policies that are, quote, race-neutral, unquote, given that people’s surnames convey sometimes identities, ethnic and religious identities, and also activities that people participated in in professional associations. And when people have references or letters of recommendation, information about background comes out. So I’m wondering if you think that this debate really reflects a kind of polarization, a kind of symbolitics, and whether, while some worry about the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decisions, this is really something that’s more symbolic than something that could actually be implemented if the universities continue to be committed to affirmative action. NGUYEN: Really great question. Thank you so much for asking it. This was actually a big chunk of the conversation during oral arguments for both at UNC and both at Harvard, right. The justices were asking, so how do you—if you don’t—and this was sort of the whole part about when they were talking about checking the box, checking sort of your racial category during the application process. And so they asked, if you get rid of that, what happens when students write about their experiences in their personal statements or, as you said, recommenders in their letters in about that? And so this was where it got really, really—I think the lawyers had a really hard time disentangling it, because for people of color, certainly a lot of their experiences, their racialized experiences, are inextricably linked to their race and their identity. And so removing that is, at an operationalized level, pretty hard to do and pretty impossible, right. So they actually had some interesting examples, like one—and so they’re asking hypotheticals. Both lawyers—both the justices on all the various spectrum of the Court were asking sort of pointed questions. Where I think one justice asked, so can you talk about—can you talk about your family’s experiences, particularly if your ancestors were slaves in the United States? And so the lawyers—this is the lawyer for SFFA saying that would not—we cannot use that. They cannot be used in admissions, because that is linked to their race. But can you—so another justice asked, can you talk about if, you know, your family immigrated to the United States? Can you—how do you talk about that? Can you talk about that? And the lawyers said, well, that would be permissible then, because that doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a racial group or a racial category. So again, it’s very—I think what they were trying to tease out was how do you—what do you actually—what would actually be the way to restrict that, right? And so I guess, depending on how the justices decide this case, my assumption is or my hope is, depending on whatever way they go, they’re going to—they will, one way or another, define or sort of place limits if they do end up removing the use of race. But I completely agree with you. Operationally, that’s not an easy thing to do, right? And when do you decide what fits and what doesn’t fit? And that will be the—that will be a big, big struggle I think universities will face if the courts ban the use of race in college admissions. FASKIANOS: Let me just add that Alison Dundes Renteln is a professor of political science at the University of Southern California. So I’m going to go to the next written question, from Clemente Abrokwaa at Penn State University: Do you think affirmative action should be redefined to reflect current social-demographic groups and needs? NGUYEN: Oh, that’s such a fun question, and particularly for someone who studies race and racial formation in the United States. And so I—you know, this is—this is an interesting one. I think—I think sort of the way we think about—at least folks in my profession think about race versus sort of the way—the way it’s currently accounted for in—by state-based classifications/definitions, those tend to be a little bit behind, right? That’s normal and natural. But I think what we’ve seen in the United States over time is race has—or, racial classifications and categories have changed over time and continue to evolve, right? The Census—the Census Bureau has an advisory group to help them think through this when they collect this data. And so—and so I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have a good answer for you, actually. But I think—I think that certainly, given the fact that racial categories do shift and change over time and the meaning ascribed to them, we certainly need to take a—if we continue using approaches for—race- or ethnic-based approaches in college admissions, that’s something that absolutely needs to be considered, right? But at the same time, it also means, as we think about sort of the future and what does that look like—and maybe, for example, here we’re talking about folks who are—who identify as mixed race. But at the same time, we need to look historically, too, right? So we don’t want to—the historical definitions and the way people would self-identify historically. And so I think—I think, certainly, the answer, then, would be—would be both, right? But what a fun question. Thanks for that question. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the moderator prerogative here and ask you about: How does affirmative action in higher education in the United States relate to, you know, relations abroad? NGUYEN: Yeah. Well— FASKIANOS: Have you looked at that connection? NGUYEN: Sure. I think—I think that—I think that’s really, really interesting. So something that we wrote in our amicus brief particularly regarding—it was sort of in response to SFFA’s brief and their claim, which was about sort of why Asian Americans here were so exceptional in their—in their academic achievements. I think that’s a—tends to be a big stereotype, model minority stereotype. That is how Asian Americans are racialized. So one thing that we sort of wrote in our brief was this actually is really connected to a certain extent, right—for some Asian American groups in the United States, that’s linked to U.S. foreign policy and U.S. immigration policy about who from Asia is allowed to immigrate to the United States, what their sort of educational background and requirements are. And so I think when we think about the arguments being made in this lawsuit and the way Asian Americans are discussed, certainly one key aspect there is certainly connected to historic U.S. foreign policy, particularly around—as well as immigration policy, particularly around the 1965 Immigration Act. So certainly they are connected and they’re linked. And something that we—that I wish more people could—more people would read our brief, I guess, and get a good understanding of, sort of to add to the complexity of this lawsuit. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go back to Morton Holbrook. Q: Yes. Still here at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Speaking of amicus briefs, what do you think of the Catholic college brief from Georgetown University? Here we have a Court that’s been very partial towards religious beliefs, and they’re arguing that their religious beliefs requires them to seek diversity in college admissions. How do you think they’ll fare in that argument? NGUYEN: Yeah. This was also brought up in—during oral arguments. I can’t remember if it was during the UNC part or the Harvard part. And I’ll be completely honest with you, I haven’t read that brief yet. There’s just so many and I wasn’t able to read them all. But this was a really interesting—really interesting point that was sort of raised in the courts. And I don’t—I don’t—I don’t have a good answer for you, to be completely honest. I’m not sure how they’re going to, particularly given that these—that this Court seems to be very much in favor of religious liberty, right, how they would account for that amicus brief from the Catholic institutions. And so that will be an interesting one to watch and to see—to see how it’s framed, and certainly it would be interesting if they played an outsized role in the justices’ decision-making here. But great question. Great point to raise and something I’ll add to my reading list for this weekend. FASKIANOS: So Alison Renteln came back with a question following on mine: Why are numerical quotas acceptable in other countries like India but not in the United States? NGUYEN: Yeah. Great, great question there. You know, also in other places like in Brazil. And so we, in fact, used to use numerical quotas before the Bakke decision. It was the Bakke decision, University of California v. Bakke, that eliminated the use of racial quotas, also eliminated the use of what I said earlier about sort of the rationales for why we can practice race-conscious admissions, which was it cannot be used to address historic racism or ongoing racism. In fact, the only rationale for why we can use affirmative action today as a—as a factor of many factors, is in order to—for universities to build campus environments—diverse campus environments of which there are benefits to diversity, the educational benefits of diversity that flows for all students. And so, yeah, it was the—it was the Supreme Court in the late 1970s that restricted the use of quotas among many other—many other rationales for the practice of race-conscious admissions. Thank you for that question. FASKIANOS: Great. And I’m going to go to next to raised hand from Emily Drew. Q: Great. Thank you. I’m listening in from Oregon, where I’m a sociologist. Thank you for all of these smart comments. My question is a little bit thinking out loud. What do you think about—it feels like there are some perils and dangers, but I’m hoping you’ll reframe that for me, of some racialized groups like indigenous people saying, well, we’re not a race anyway—we’re tribes, we’re nations—so that they’re not subject to the ban on race-conscious practices, which, it’s true, they’re a tribe. They’re also a racialized group. And so I’m struggling with groups kind of finding a political way around the ban or the potential ban that’s coming, but then where does that leave us in terms of, you know, each group, like, take care of your own kind of thing? Can you just react a little bit to that? NGUYEN: Yeah. Thanks for that really wonderful question. Fascinating point about, yeah, the way to say: We’re not a racial group. We’re sovereign nations or sovereign tribes. I think what we’re going to see, depending on how the courts go, are folks trying—schools potentially trying a whole host of different approaches to increase diversity on their campuses if they’re not allowed to use some of these racial categories like they’ve been doing already, in a holistic approach. And so, yeah, that might be a fascinating way for indigenous communities to advance forward. I will say, though, there was one point, again, in the—during oral arguments where they started talking about sort of generational connections to racial categories. And so they’re saying if it’s my grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents, right, so sort of talking almost about, like—at least the way I interpreted it, as sort of thinking about connecting one to a race via blood quantum. And so when does that—when does that expire, right? And so is it—is it—if you’re one-sixteenth Native American, is that—does that count? So there was a short line of questioning about that, and I think the—I think the lawyer tried to draw a line in the sand about, like, at what point do you not go—what point does it count and when does it not count. And I think that’s actually a bit of a misstep, primarily because that should be determined by the sovereign nation, by the tribe, about who gets to identify as that—as a member of that nation or that tribe and how they—I think—you know, I think, talking to indigenous scholars, they would say it’s about how you engage in and how you live in it, rather than—rather than if it’s just a percentage. So, again, those will be the tensions, I think, that will—that already exist, I should say, regardless of the Court decision. But a fascinating point about states sort of exercising indigenous law there to see if that would be a way to counter that. Certainly, I should—I should have said at the top of this I’m not trained as a lawyer. And so I have no idea how that would be sort of litigated out, but certainly I imagine all different entities will find ways to move through this without—in various legal fashions. And I was talking to a colleague earlier today about this and he said something about at the end of the day this might be something that, if Congress decided to take up, they may—this would be an opportunity for Congress to take up, to maybe develop a narrow path for institutions. But certainly it’s—the courts seem to be the favored way for us to talk about affirmative action. FASKIANOS: There’s a written question from John Francis, who is a research professor of political science at the University of Utah: If the Court were to strike down affirmative action, would state universities give much more attention to geographic recruitment within their respective states and encourage private foundations to raise scholarship funds to support students of color who live in those areas? NGUYEN: Great, great question there. And I think that would be one of many things that universities are doing. We’re seeing schools where the states have banned affirmative action do things like this, in Michigan and certainly in California. But to a certain extent, it actually doesn’t work—I guess in California’s context—that well. I think, if I’m not mistaken, the head of admissions for UC Berkeley said in one of many panels—he’s wonderful, by the way—on one of many panels, like, that doesn’t work very well in the California context because only so many schools have sort of that large concentration of African American students and for them to sort of go there and recruit out of that. So it’s not a—the sort of geographic distribution is not so easy and clean cut as—I think as one would normally perceive. And so it actually develops a big, big challenge for state institutions, particularly state flagship institutions, in particular geographic contexts. Now, I don’t know if that’s the case, say, in other parts of the country. But certainly within the UC system, that seems to be a prevailing argument. And I think more than ever now, everyone has been looking to the UC system for insight on what they—on how to approach this if the courts decide next year to ban the use of race. I should also admit that—or, not admit, but proudly declare that I’m a product of the UC system. All of my postsecondary education is from those schools. And so I know that this has been a constant and ongoing conversation within the UC system, and I imagine that will be the case for schools both public and private across the country. But I think part of that calculation then requires institutions to think about not just from private donors, but really from state legislatures as well as the institutions themselves have to really think about how they want to dedicate resources to achieving diversity if they don’t—if they’re unable to use race. I think a tremendous amount of resources. So, to a certain extent, it’s going to make institutions put their money where their mouth is. And so we’ll see if that—this will all be interesting areas to investigate, depending on how the courts decide come next year. FASKIANOS: There’s a raised hand or there was a raised hand from Jeff Goldsmith. I don’t know if you still have a question. Q: Yeah. So I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I might want to pose this question, but I was struck by—sorry, this is Jeff Goldsmith from Columbia University. I was struck by the line of questioning that you mentioned from Justice Barrett about affinity housing and your thoughts about how narrow or far-reaching a decision striking down affirmative action might be. And I guess it seems like there is the potential for at least some gray area. And you know, we run things like summer research programs that are intended to bolster diversity. There are in some cases—you just sort of mentioned the scholarship opportunities focused on increasing the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds. And I guess I’m just sort of curious if you have any speculation about how narrow or far-reaching a decision might be. NGUYEN: Thanks for that question. Yeah. So I think this was—we—prior to the—to oral arguments, people had sort of talked about this a little bit. Would this be consequential? And I—in fact, the day before—the day before oral arguments, I was on a different panel and I sort of brought this up. And actually, a federal judge in the audience came up to me afterwards and said, you know, I don’t think the Court’s got a lot of appetite for that. And I said, hey, I completely agree with you, but certainly, you know, we’ve—in recent times we’ve seen the Court do more interesting things, I guess, if you’ll—if I can use a euphemism. And so—and so, it almost feels like everything’s on the table, right? But I think, generally speaking, I’m inclined to agree that if the courts strike down race-conscious admissions, they will do it in a very narrow and highly-tailored way. That was my feeling going in. That was my feeling on October 30, right? Then, on Halloween—October 31—while listening to the—to the oral arguments, you had that very short exchange between Justice Barrett, specifically during the UNC case, ask about affinity groups and affinity housing, and it felt like it sort of came out of left field. And not—and so I think that raised some curiosity for all of us about what—about why that was a line of questioning. But nonetheless, I think at least my—I’ve never been a gambling person, but if I were I would say that if they do strike it down that I think the justices wholesale don’t—I don’t think they would have a large appetite to do something so broad and sweeping like that. At least that’s my hope, if that’s the direction we’re moving in. But I guess that’s why I said earlier that we’re sort of all on pins and needles about that. And if that is struck down, then I think that’s got a lot of consequences for scholarships, recruitment programs, summer bridge programs, potentially minority-serving institutions, and all of the above. So, yeah, I—again, it seems like that’s a big reshaping of postsecondary education, not just in admissions but sort of the way they operate overall. And I don’t know if that would happen so quickly overnight like that. But that, at least, is my hope. FASKIANOS: (Off mic.) There you go. Q: (Laughs.) Thank you so much for your talk. Clemente Abrokwaa from Penn State University. And my question is, right now there is a push for diversity, equity, and inclusion in many areas. How is that different from affirmative action? NGUYEN: Well, great question. And actually, that’s a really difficult one for me to answer only because I think if we were to go and ask ten people on the street what did we mean by diversity, equity, and inclusion, everyone would give you sort of a very different and potentially narrow or a very broad definition of what it means, right? But I think with respect to affirmative action, particularly in a higher-education context, it is specifically about college admissions, specifically about admissions and how do you review college admissions. And in this case here, there is a very narrow way in which it can—it can be used for race—in this case for race, that it’s got to be narrowly tailored, that it can only be a factor among a factor in a broad holistic approach, that you can’t use quotas, that it can’t be based on rectifying previous or historical racism, and that the only utility for it is that it is used to create learning environments where there are educational benefits that flow from diversity and the interactions of diversity. Versus, I think, broader conversations about DEI, while of course centered on admissions, right, which is sort of one of many dimensions in which you achieve DEI, right? We like to think that—and I’m going to be sort of citing a scholar, Sylvia Hurtado, out of UCLA, who argues that, admissions help contribute to one dimension, which is the composition of a university, the sort of just overall demographics and numbers of that university. But there are many other dimensions that are important in order to create learning environments in which we can achieve DEI-related issues. That means that we have to look at the institution and the way it’s acted historically and contemporarily. We have to look at behavioral interactions between people on a university. There are psychological dimensions, among many others. And so that’s how I think about it. I think that’s how at least my area of scholarship and in our academic discipline we think about it and for folks who study education think about it. And so hopefully that answers your question. And, yeah, hopefully that answers your question. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the next question from Alison Renteln: What policies appear to be the best practices to increase diversity at universities, including disability? And what are the best practices from other countries? NGUYEN: Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. So we—you know, I think—I think a lot of other countries use quotas. Brazil might be sort of the example that most folks think about when they think about the way affirmative action’s practiced abroad. And certainly that’s not something that we can do here in the United States. So that’s—that—really, really important consideration. Sort of other practices that I think that are—that are not sort of the ones that are narrowly tailored by the courts are what I said earlier about sort of what the UC system has to really do and has to really grapple with, right, are using every sort of—everything that they can think of under the sun to go out and try to do outreach and recruit and build those pipelines throughout the entire education system. There’s been some work by some wonderful folks in our field—Dominique Baker, Mike Bastedo—who looked at even sort of just a random sampling, if you were able to do a lottery system, and that has actually found that that doesn’t actually increase diversity either, and so—racial diversity either. And so I think that’s—so, again, this all points to how crucial affirmative action is in being able to use race in order to achieve compositional diversity on a college campus, and that other proxy variables just don’t even come close to being able to help estimate that. And so, yeah, that’s—I should also note that really, we’re only talking about a dozen or so schools. Oh, I’m sorry, more than a dozen, but a handful of schools that this is really a big issue for. Most schools in the United States don’t necessarily—are not at this level of selectivity where it becomes a big issue of concern for the national public. Nearly half of all of our college-going students are at community college, which tend to be open-access institutions. And so something also to keep in mind when we talk about affirmative action. FASKIANOS: Thanks. We only have a few minutes left. Can you talk a little bit more about the work of NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools? NGUYEN: Yeah. So I’m a faculty affiliate there, and maybe I’ll preface by saying I’m new to NYU. I just came here from the University of Denver, and so I’m still learning about every wonderful thing that Metro Center is doing. It’s led by a wonderful faculty member here named Fabienne Doucet and really focused on sort of a handful of pillars—certainly research on education, but also a real big tie for communities. So real direct engagement with schools, school systems in order to advance justice in those schools. And so they have a lot of contracts with school districts and public entities, as well as nonprofit groups that come in and work as an incubator there on a host of issues. And so I think the work there is really exciting and really interesting. It tends to be—and I should say also very expansive. So the whole sort of K-12 system, as well as postsecondary. And I think that’s the role that I’m looking to play there, is to help contribute to and expand their work in the postsecondary education space. FASKIANOS: Great. And maybe a few words about your other—you have many, many hats. NGUYEN: Oh. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: NYU’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change. NGUYEN: Yeah. They do some really wonderful, interesting work. And it’s really, actually, a center and a space for faculty to come in and run a lot of their research projects, including my own, which is the MSI Data Project, where we are looking at all the various different types of minority-serving institutions in the United States, how they change over time, and how the federal government thinks about them and accounts for them, as well as how do the schools themselves think about them, all with the goal here in order to work with students of colors and give them access and opportunity. I should say, depending on how you count them, MSIs enroll a huge and significant proportion of all students of color, almost half, in the country, despite making up such a small percentage, about 20 percent, of all college and universities. And so this is—certainly when we talk about affirmative action, we—I think a lot of folks center it around racial justice or social justice. I think sort of the other side of the same coin here are schools like minority-serving institutions which enroll and provide access to and graduate a really significant proportion and number of students of color and certainly an area that we need to bring a lot more attention to when we talk about issues of race and education. FASKIANOS: OK, I’m going to take one—try to sneak in one last question from John Francis, who’s raised his hand. You get the last one, John. Q: OK, can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: Oh, that’s great. So my question is—has a certain irony to it, but there’s been a great deal of discussion of late that men are not succeeding in college, but that women are, and that certainly should be encouraged, but also there should be ways to find perhaps even changing when people start out in elementary school how that may be shifted to help men later on. And in this discussion, when we’re looking at that issue and it’s gaining some latitude, some strength, should we think about that as a possible consideration that universities should have greater latitude in making decisions to reflect the current set of demographic issues, be it race or gender or others? Has this argument come to play any kind of role? NGUYEN: Great question and a good last one, and if I can be completely honest, not an area that I’m—gender-based issues are not an area that I’ve done a whole lot of work in, if really any work, but I will attempt to answer your question as best as I can here, which is, I think—and sort of connected to sort of the larger conversation and question that we had that someone posed earlier about sort of the complexity and changing nature of racial and ethnic categories and what does that mean, and how do universities address that? And I think this is again where it requires universities to have some flexibility and nimbleness and autonomy to be able to address a lot of these issues, including what you’re talking about, John, depending on the context and the times in which we are in. You know, certainly one big area also connected to—for men in postsecondary education is sort of the huge gap we see for men of color from particular groups, and really we see foundations, we see the Obama administration really play—invest in this work. So, John, from what it sounds like, it sounds like I agree with you here about—that universities need flexibility and autonomy to be able to address these issues. Now, that may—at the same time, we don’t want to dismiss the fact that the experiences of women in postsecondary education—while certainly we see numbers increasing in enrollment in a lot of aspects, in certain disciplines we see a sharp decline; we see—in STEM and engineering fields, in the way those disciplines may be organized to sort of push out women. And so I think, again, this is why it requires some nimbleness and some autonomy from the universities to be able to design approaches to support students of different types of diversity on their campuses, in particular areas, disciplines, and majors. And so I think that’s the—I think that’s the challenge, is that we need to be a lot more intentional and think more precisely and run our analyses in ways that make sense for particular intersectional groups on campus and in the areas of which they’re studying. So yeah, I think that’s the—one of the big challenges that universities are facing today and certainly depending on how the courts rule, we’ll see if that ends up restricting autonomy and removing tools or allowing those tools to remain for various types of targeted interventions for various minoritized groups. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, Mike Nguyen, thank you very much for this terrific hour and to all of you for your questions and comments. This is really insightful and we appreciate it. Welcome to New York, Mike, your first New York—holidays in New York. So we will be resuming the series in January and we will be sending out also the lineup for our winter/spring semester of the Academic Webinar series, which is really designed for students, later this month. We do wish you all luck with administering finals this week and grading them and all those papers; I don’t envy you all. We have different deadlines under—at the Council that we’re working on right now, so it will be a busy month, but we hope that everybody enjoys the holidays. We will resume in January, in the new year, and I encourage you all to follow us at @CFR_Academic on Twitter. Visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. Again, thanks, Mike, for this, and to all of you. NGUYEN: Thank you so much for having me. Really an honor. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Take care, everybody. (END)

Middle East and North Africa

Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College and program director of the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and the MENA region, leads the conversation on migration, refugees, and education. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Rebecca Granato with us to discuss migration, refugees, and education. Dr. Granato is associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, and program director for the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and in the MENA region. She also serves as an associate at Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking, and has developed and delivered teacher professional development in Myanmar, Jordan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other places. Her work focuses on contextualized, learner-centered experiences in undergraduate courses, teacher professional development, and research-oriented training in places affected by crisis and displacement for refugees, internally displaced people, and those in host communities. So, Rebecca, thank you very much for being with us today. I thought we could begin with you sharing your insights on some of the barriers refugees and migrants face in higher education. GRANATO: Thank you, Irina. And thank you to CFR for having me here today. I’m just going to share a few slides. And I’ll talk for just ten or twelve minutes to Irina’s question. Let me share my screen. So what I thought I would do is give you some background on higher education in displacement context, including some of the barriers, challenges, successes, and goals. And I was also going to talk a little bit about the need for close collaboration across seemingly disparate actors in order to open opportunities for those affected by displacement. So some of you may know this, but as of the month of May 2022, the number of forcibly displaced individuals across the globe crossed the 100 million mark. This is significant. I mean, this is the largest jump in displacement since World War II. And what this really means in real terms is that one in every seventy-eight people on Earth have actually been forced to flee. Nearly half of these individuals are youth. I think as many of us know, sustainable development goal number four demands that we ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. But we have a long way to go when it comes to full participation of refugees and exercising this right to a full educational experience. That said, a lot of work has gone into awareness-raising of the barriers that this population faces, as well as into establishing and promoting global markers for success. Sone example of a really important marker out there is something that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established, a global goal called the 15by30 Roadmap, which sets a target of enrolling 15 percent of refugee youth into higher education by 2030. Which means about a half a million individuals. This would raise the numbers up to 15 percent from 5 percent, which is what we have today in terms of enrollments, which hovers around 90,000 refugees taking advantage of higher education opportunities. In order to reach this goal, as this roadmap articulates, there are five education pathways that refugees can pursue. And the five are intended to ensure that refugees’ needs are met in different ways. Just like our needs when we want to go to university are also met in different ways. One would be national university enrollment in countries of first asylum. Another would be UNHCR tertiary scholarship programs, which could be in universities of—universities and countries of first asylum, or also in third countries. Connected higher education programs, which use online education and blended learning. Complementary education pathways for admission to third countries, which are third country scholarships that include a durable solution. And then TVET opportunities, technical and vocational education and training. So through these five pathways is how UNHCR intends for the global community to help refugees actually move in greater numbers into higher education. The UN has also launched a campaign called Each One Take One. This was launched quite recently. And what it asks is that universities across the globe each take at least one refugee student onto their campus. So it’s a catchy tag. It won’t have a major impact on its own, but the goal of some of these catchy tags is really to help promote the idea of refugee inclusion in higher education. But in order to make this a reality, there are still a number of barriers that need to be overcome. So I’m going to go back a little bit to some data that isn’t just focused on the tertiary education numbers. So we’ll look at a couple of global data points. All of these numbers are actually drawn from UNHCR’s Global Trends report, which they publish annually. And they collect data from across the globe, across many, many countries that host refugees. So when it comes to the number of youth who are actually eligible for higher education opportunities in refugee contexts, this chart, as you can see, does not tell a very promising story. Sixty-eight percent of refugees have access to primary education. This is compared to a global average of about 91 percent for primary school. So there’s a big gap there. When it comes to secondary education, we’re looking at about 37 percent of refugees accessing secondary education, compared to a global average of about 84 percent. And then, of course, when we get to tertiary, which I’ll come back to, we’re looking at 5 to 6 percent, compared to a global average of about 37 percent. And as you can see here from this slide, the enrollment numbers drop off precipitously after primary education. And this happens for a number of reasons. It could be caretaking of younger siblings, wage-earning possibilities, a sense of hopelessness that education actually isn’t opening up opportunities, hearing from bigger brothers and sisters and others that a university education, while it might have been possible for a refugee, resulted in no additional livelihood opportunity within a camp setting. And for girls, of course, there are additional barriers—early marriage, safety concerns, cultural barriers. Second, I would say that—and as indicated by this chart too—that the quality of K-12 education is often very poor in displacement contexts. Primary and secondary education for refugees is most frequently treated as an emergency response, so as a kind of temporary stopgap measure before the refugees are repatriated. But we also know that the average refugee status lasts around two decades, which is a number that extends far beyond the typical school years. So treating primary and secondary as an emergency response is actually—it’s very damaging. When education is treated like this, as a humanitarian issue, what partners end up doing is they end up setting up special schools in parallel systems. So you can see here on the slide, I note three different ways in which emergency response education plays out at the K-12 level. Partially integrated systems, like what you have in a case like Jordan where students in some cases are in what are called second-shift schools. The refugees go in the afternoons. The host communities go during the day. Often there are less-qualified teachers teaching the afternoon. Jordan’s trying to move away from that, slowly, slowly. But it’s just an example. A parallel system is like an example of what Kenya does, where all of the students in the K-12 system go through the Kenyan national curriculum, but the teachers are actually employed by NGOs. And they have no training, or virtually no training, and they also do not have the—they don’t have the Ministry of Education pay scale. So they’re treated like what we call incentive workers. They make about $110 a month. And then we have the example of an informal system, which is probably the weakest of all. And an example of that is what we have in the Cox’s Bazar camps for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, where the students actually, up until recently, were completely blocked from attending any kind of formal school system. And they were attending four levels only of a curriculum that was designed by the British Council. So very few host countries actually allow for inclusive educational opportunities in which refugee education is fully embedded into the host country education system. And an inclusive system would really mean that teacher quality, school infrastructure, financing, access to learning materials, and other resources are the same for all students, citizens, residents, and refugees alike. And of course, refugee students before they get to tertiary often need even more support beyond what is needed by the host community. They need assessment of prior learning when their certificates are not verifiable, when they’re coming from another country. They might need language learning and will certainly need psychosocial support. So this is the—this is a major barrier leading up to the attempt to get more students into higher education. And even for those who do make it, and the numbers have slowly crept up, there are significant and often paralyzing barriers to actually accessing or being successful in these tertiary education environments. Language is one of them. Most refugees are displaced to countries in which the language of instruction is different from their own. And graduation from secondary school in that country of first asylum does not necessarily mean academic fluency, as many of these refugee contexts are in rote learning environments. Even in places where refugees do speak the same language as their hosts, such as Syrians in Jordan, there are limited higher education opportunities for refugees in, for example, Jordan, in the country of first asylum. So in many cases, even if they make it through the secondary school system in their native language, they still have to learn another language to be competitive in a tertiary environment. There’s a major skills gap, especially when applying to university programs more so than TVET or some of the other certificates or diplomas. Between interrupted education and poor-quality opportunities in host countries, even the brightest youth often lack the necessary skills. And this could be as simple as they don’t have the basic ICT skills to fill out a college application. They don’t have the ability to frame and promote themselves. They don’t have the confidence to do so. They don’t have the content knowledge to pass entrance exams, not to mention the more advanced skills like critical thinking and academic writing. Navigating the system is a major barrier. Lack of access to quality information on higher education opportunities and scholarships. Refugees often have to rely heavily on word of mouth, on social media, on WhatsApp groups, on NGOs and informal networks in order to know where they can get access to higher education. And most of them, even when they identify that opportunity, they don’t have the support in understanding the application procedures, the prerequisites, how to obtain study visas if they need them, or how to even arrange for recognition of prior learning. And then finally, I mean, there’s the obvious one of limitation on numbers of scholarships and places for study. Opportunities in host communities are extremely limited. And this often has a very politicized aspect to it, you know, where refugees sometimes are treated as foreign students. Like in Jordan, where they have to pay foreign tuition. And then there’s the issue of the possibility of, say, complementary education pathways, where they go to a third country but many of the scholarships out there right now don’t have a durable solution attached to them. So a student may go to study in another country, but there’s no sustainable post-graduation option for them. And they risk being left in kind of an administrative limbo, which is a serious protection risk. So as you can see, in spite of these many barriers the numbers have gone up over the past few years. Since the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, we have been able to move from 3 percent to 6 percent, which is not insignificant. But the goal of reaching 15 percent by 2030 is a lofty one, especially considering that almost 90 percent of the world’s refugee population is hosted by developing countries. So just to give a kind of comparative data point, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, the enrollment rate of non-refugee youth in higher education across the region still hovers only around 9 percent. So if we’re trying to get to 15 percent with the refugee population, we also need to think about the host community. And this is another sort of political issue that comes up a lot. So there are many different actors working in the field to address some of these barriers to reach the goal of 15by30. There are foundations providing significant funding for scholarships for displaced learners. MasterCard Foundation, Education Above All, some of which you might have heard of. There are regional actors working to open places for learners at national universities and countries of first asylum. I live in Kenya. I’m talking to you from Nairobi. We have a network here called the African Higher Education Network. And then there’s another network that works in Africa that is called the Men’s Network, that works primarily in francophone Africa. And they work on complementary education pathways. So there’s lots of actors doing lots of work. And then there are networks that are working along multiple lines and with diverse actors, such as the network I work for. And I’m going to talk a little bit about what OSUN has done just for a couple of minutes, and what makes us unique in our ability to support the opening of higher education opportunities for refugees. So OSUN is a truly global network. We have representation on almost every continent. Partners are quite diverse, including higher education and research institutions. All of them are at various stages of their own institutional development, but all of them also share a set of similar values, including a commitment to open society and also to collaboratively addressing inequality. Because we work horizontally across partners, we’re able to support new and continued educational access in both emergent and protracted crises. And it’s important to keep both emergent and protracted crises in mind. When we have, you know, the news inundating us with Ukraine and Afghanistan, there are many refugees who have been displaced for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years. So we do a lot of work as well through connected learning programs, also by supporting student movement to institutions across our network for the purposes of education. And, luckily, we also work in countries of first asylum, where we might be able to take students into national universities. And when it comes to emergent crises, networks are a really important contributor. Not just OSUN, but all networks. In our case, we’re capable of mobilizing human and financial resources for really rapid response. And we’ve done this in three different—three very different contexts over the past nineteen months, with Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. For example, we were able to support over two hundred students from Afghanistan to continue their education after displacement. Still a drop in the bucket, though. And by working across multiple partners, we’re also able to support students in the more protracted situations in Africa, the Middle East, and Bangladesh. In urban settings and in refugee camps, which are the places where I work. As Irina mentioned, I direct something called the OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives. And we have what’s called the Refugee Higher Education Access Program, which is a bridging program. It takes about fifteen to eighteen months and it’s really intended to prepare students to really be ready to go into any academic English-language university program. Critical thinking, writing, analysis. All of these things they’re not getting in their very poorly equipped secondary schools. And some of the content knowledge upskilling that’s needed. So working within our network, these students are also eventually integrated into classrooms alongside matriculated students at campuses across the globe. And this has an added benefit for those students of humanizing the refugee student and exposing them—exposing the non-refugee matriculated students—to the very different perspectives that the refugees can bring. So even these very diverse networks can only impact a finite number of students. But what they can do, and the reason I’m mentioning networks—and what OSUN is working hard to do—is really to create models that can be locally contextualized, and also replicable in other contexts and by other institutions. Likewise, I mentioned earlier UNHCR’s Each One Take One campaign. Again, a catchy little slogan, but once a university sets up a system for one student, it becomes much easier to take in many more. Universities realize it’s possible. And in the context of the American system, there’s going to be the opening of a new refugee category—a visa category in the coming months, which some of your universities—if you’re dialing in from the States—might be involved in down the line. And the initial pilot will be asking universities to just take one or two students through a complementary pathway, with the intention that it would be scaled up over time. So I guess one question is, why should we be putting so much emphasis on higher education for refugees? And, first, I would say there’s the moral imperative. Many of us who work for universities have social missions attached to our universities. And we try to emphasize this element, of course, with our institutions and also with other university actors. But beyond that, there are many other players who need to be convinced at this importance of this, particularly governments, state actors, people that we deal with a lot on the ground. And we need to make a different argument there. The moral imperative does not hold weight for them. We need to show them that educating refugees is a good investment of human and financial resources. And as actors in the refugee education space, I believe we really need to think of higher education as an instrument that fosters growth, reduces poverty, and boosts shared prosperity, not only for the individual receiving the education but for the country in which the individual is residing. We can clearly articulate the global gains of tertiary graduates, OK. So we have that data. And I’m sure many of you are familiar with this. For example, some of the World Bank data shows that tertiary education graduates—and not just refugees—experience a 17 percent increase in their earnings. In sub-Saharan Africa, which of course is hard hit by many refugee crises, it’s a 21 percent increase in earnings for tertiary education graduates. So in addition to wage-earning capacity, there’s data indicating that tertiary education graduates are more environmentally conscious, they have healthier habits, they have a higher level of civic participation. So when refugees, if we expend that argument, are allowed to study and work in host—in third countries, they have the potential to contribute to societies and economies. So there needs to be a lot more data collection on this, in order to make a convincing case. But I’m going to give a couple of quick examples before I end, upon which we could base an argument for opening higher education opportunities and increasing potential earning power. So when refugees travel to Canada for higher education through complementary pathways, they’re granted permanent residency upon arrival. The World University Service of Canada, WUSC, leads on this movement of refugee students between countries of first asylum and Canada. And they’ve been able to show that 90 percent of the refugees who were brought into their universities contribute to the economy as taxpayers within several months after graduation. They too need more data on actually what the numbers are. In 2017, the U.S. government completed a study that looked at a period that’s now a little bit distant, they need to update this, but 2005 to 2014. And what they found is that while resettling refugees can cost thousands of dollars in the first couple of years, the tax contributions outweigh the cost. So during the period studied, the federal government spent approximately 206 billion on refugees. And yet, over that same period the refugees contributed more than 269 billion in tax revenue. So that’s a positive—net positive economic tax contribution of 63 billion. And then finally, if we’re looking beyond first-world countries, refugees often send remittances back to their country of origin. And one example is Liberia, which is a big refugee providing country. And about 18.5 percent of their GDP comes from remittances abroad. So I’ll just conclude by saying that, there’s a couple of things that we need to—we need to do to promote further access. One is, we need to be thinking differently about how to prepare youth in the countries that—the countries of first asylum, before they get to the tertiary level. What’s happening now with the donor community, there’s a lot of investment in primary education. There’s a lot of attention on tertiary. And secondary is just being left out. Teachers are not trained. Students are just falling behind. And then we have this major drop off of ability before they can get to tertiary. We also need to rethink refugee participation. Those of us who work on the ground, we think we’re always including refugee voices. We need to do a lot more on that. The refugees themselves are the experts in what their informal economies look like. So in many countries they can’t work legally, but they have informal economies. What do they really need to be studying? What skills do they need? We need to be tapping that. And UNHCR’s working on a kind of refugee-led mentoring program that might tackle some of this. And then finally, the last point I would make is that we really need to create pathways and pipelines between different higher education institutions and programs. We need to include connected opportunities, scholarships in countries of first asylum, and also third-country opportunities so that students can move between degree possibilities, like any of us would, who want to get a higher education. So there needs to be options out there. So I think I’ll end there and turn it back to Irina. FASKIANOS: That was fantastic. Thank you so much, Rebecca. And we’re going to turn to all of you now for your questions and comments. You can share what you’re doing and your thoughts. (Gives queuing instructions.) So the first question is from Patricia McCormick, who I think is at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, because she says she hopes you will reach out to her. How are universities contacted to admit refugee services? Who pays for the housing and tuition of refugee students? GRANATO: I think I had a moment of internet instability. Can you hear me, Irina? FASKIANOS: I can hear you now, yes. So start at the top. Did you hear the question? GRANATO: I think it’s the question that’s in the Q&A, how are universities contacted to admit refugee students? FASKIANOS: It is. GRANATO: OK. Sorry about that. Sometimes Kenya has unstable internet. If you can’t hear me, please let me know. Flag it. FASKIANOS: I will. GRANATO: So that’s a good question. Admitting refugee students. So in the U.S. right now there isn’t currently what we call a durable solution. That’s what’s being designed. In order for those of us who work in the field to responsibly send refugees to countries—to what we call third countries, there really needs to be a legal framework in place so that they can remain after. Once refugees leave camp settings, they’re often not allowed to go back. So what that means is they become not only stateless but they become campless. They’re statusless. They’re in this kind of administrative limbo, was the term I used earlier. So when—the U.S. is currently designing this process that many of us are very involved in. And what will happen is a coalition of NGOs will reach out to universities and try to find interest in universities taking in students. The question, though, you had was about all the wraparound services, because many universities are often willing to forgive tuition. I know in OSUN we do that all time. But there are so many other costs associated with bringing a refugee student to another country. There’s the cost of the flight, the cost of the visa, the housing, the living stipend, all of that. So some of that’s going to be covered by the U.S. government during this pilot, but really what needs to be looked at is what a more sustainable mechanism is for this. And there are different ways it’s done in different parts of the world. So in Canada, they use a—they use a community sponsorship model. So sometimes—well, they do two things. The community sponsorship model, and what’s called the student levy. I don’t think this would work in the U.S. But the student levy, there’s also money put on the tuition bill—like a dollar or two dollars—on every single tuition bill. And that money goes to cover refugee students at a given institution. And community sponsorship involves the community coming together and identifying pots of money that can be used for these wraparound services. And then, of course, universities need to also spend both human and financial resources on building out what’s needed in terms of the structures on campus to support these students, because there’s always legal advising, there’s psychosocial support, there’s all of the upskilling that might not have happened on the end when they’re being sent from their country of first asylum into the third country. I hope that answers your question. But if institutions are interested, though, you should pay attention to what’s coming, because there will be a call for interest for universities to participate in this new refugee visa category pilot program. And you can also contact me. I’ll be—I’ll know what’s going on and be involved in some ways, too. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Beth. And you’ll need to share your last name and your affiliation. If you can unmute yourself, that would be great, or accept the prompt. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: OK, great. My name’s Elizabeth, I go by Beth, Bryant. I’m with Texas State Technical College. I’m on a campus about twenty miles from the Texas-Mexico border. We specialize in associate degrees and technical training for occupations that are in demand in Texas, of course, since we’re such a big economy, and, you know, other places—wind technology, cybersecurity, nursing, education, things like that. I teach state and federal government. We’re all online now. Some of the technical courses have hybrid classes. So my first question is, I know the definition in the dictionary of a refugee, but one of the things that we face here is just an influx of people from Mexico and Central and South America that are not necessarily fleeing war or famine. I think those folks, it’s easy to look at them as a refugee. What we have here are folks that are fleeing economic crises, societal unrest. I have two immigration lawyer friends who I used to help students whenever I can, and they’ve been very generous. One story is a guy got sent back to Honduras when he finally had his trial, was not granted asylum, and was killed two weeks later. So that’s what we’re dealing with here. It’s like an administrative backlog and these people are fleeing difficulty, but it’s hard to get them classified as a refugee. And with the backlog, with the administrative courts that determine asylum, has people just sort of hanging out for two years, and then they make their way into the country and the best they can do is get a job washing dishes at a restaurant, or working at South Padre Island cleaning hotel rooms. So all these countries that you mentioned, it’s easy to see. But for us here on the border, we have a difficult time actually thinking of some of these immigrants—some of these immigrants as refugees. So in order to access what OSUN is doing, how can—what are some of your thoughts on that? And then, just to follow that up, access to technology. Access to the computers. I have students that are trying to do their assignments on a smartphone because they don’t have a computer. We do have funds. We try to get them to those students to help them. These may be first-generation Americans or immigrants. So the technology, the digital divide, is really wide with this group. And this is in our own country. This isn’t a first or second world issue. This is a—I mean, a second or third world issue. This is—this is right here in the United States. And it is a—it is a big problem, because we can’t get these folks to that next level because of the classification and because of the access to technology. So just—just some thoughts on how we could work with our administration, here at TSTC on that. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. GRANATO: Those are big questions. They’re really big questions. I would say, what you pointed to, Beth, of this person who ended up being sent back to, I think it was Honduras you said, and killed, I mean, that’s exactly—when we’re thinking about more traditional refugee pathways, I think there’s also a consideration there that needs to apply to immigrants into the United States. I guess, illegal immigrants. I’m not sure I know the politically correct term for the U.S. right now. But that kind of unofficial immigration into the U.S., because asylum does take a long time, and often fails, and then it leaves people in, again, this kind of limbo where they end up having to go back to a place where it’s not safe. So having that legal framework planned out in advance before taking students into an institution is really—I think that’s just a—that’s an important starting point. I think that was one of your points, but your other point is really about this technological gap. And I guess what I’m not sure I’m understanding, Beth, is, are these students—they’re enrolling in your university as fully matriculated students? Q: Yes. Yes, they’re—I mean, TSTC has open enrollment. And, you know, I’ve taught DREAMers before, who came over here when they were babies because their mother was fleeing, you know, economic insecurity, et cetera. And then I have, you know, people who have—who have migrated. It’s not hard to do. And we take them. And we try to get them into an English as a second language course, et cetera. But it’s—now that so much—even if my courses weren’t online, you still have to have a computer to complete higher education. I mean, period. It’s one of the things that I noticed. I mean, when I tell my students I had to type all my research papers on a typewriter, it freaks them out, you know? And so there are funds available, since we’re a state institution. We’re state-funded. The state of Texas funds us. So we do have access to funds to try to get the computers to those that need them. But it’s coming out of hiding, interacting with the government. A lot of my students won’t apply for the funds because they’re scared. And they’re bright people. Mexico has a pretty good secondary education system. So do you see that as an issue with the people that you deal with? And how do you— FASKIANOS: And then we’ll—if you could take a crack at that, and then we have several other questions. We’ll move on. GRANATO: One of the—one of the things we do, though, is we really work with our faculty on adjusting assignments so that the assignments work in these lower-resource settings, so that students don’t have to have a computer. There actually is quite a bit that students can’t do on their phones. And students—we find that our students, who are very used to not having access to technology, are very adept at being creative in how they’re going to get some of these assignments done. They often handwrite them, and then they’ll type them up in WhatsApp, you know. But we do a lot of faculty work around how to kind of adjust content so that it works in the environment, because you can’t—we simply can’t provide a computer for every student. That would be an unsustainable model. So faculty development is one way we grapple with it. And then upskilling the students so that they know how to kind of adjust and how to be flexible. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to next to a written question from Dr. Damian Odunze. Does the refugee education program include internally displaced persons, especially in countries in East and West Africa? Is there a collaboration between your organization and local communities? And Dr. Odunze’s with Delta State University in Cleveland, Missouri. GRANATO: Thanks, Dr. Damian. So, yes, we do—we do work with internally displaced students, and many other programs in the region do as well. I would say that, in terms—when you ask about collaboration with local institutions, we—at least from the perspective of OSUN. I can speak from OSUN’s perspective. We attempt to collaborate with local universities here. And there’s a lot less flexibility with local institutions, say in Kenya, in terms of the ways in which refugees are credentialed, the ways in which their qualifications are kind of framed, than there would be with, say, an online program in the United States or even a third-country pathway. There’s often just more flexibility with foreign institutions. So we try to work on opening opportunities for students here with local institutions, but the other ways in which we work with local institutions is we do a lot of work with refugee-led organizations. And those refugee-led organizations work with us on developing the contextualized programming. It also builds their capacity. So some of our attempt at local work is also just with sort of organizations that have been developed by the refugees themselves, which are also educationally oriented, but not higher education institutions. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And just to correct myself, Delta State University is in Cleveland, Mississippi. My apologies. So I’m going to go next to Candace Laughinghouse. Q: Good afternoon. Well, first, thank you for this presentation. It’s really opened my eyes to a lot. I teach at a HBCU, St. Augustine’s University. And we have students—it’s in Raleigh, North Carolina. We have a lot of international students I was unaware of until I joined the faculty. And a lot of that is through the Episcopal Church. Because the school is an Episcopal University. But I just had some questions. And I’m wondering, in our attempts to provide education to students—I’m going to do some research further myself—I was just wondering, also as a—probably because as—(inaudible)—and the importance of listening to our language as instructors—because I actually have to engage in this with some professors in addressing our larger student population of African American students—is, I guess, educating our language and how we’re creating a community to transform. It reminds me of a book by bell hooks called Teaching to Transgress. And a lot of that—and what I’m hearing some of the questions, and some of the things I know, things are sometimes kind of intention or not being aware of addressing certain things. But how does it impact a student’s learning? Because we often feel that the desire to learn just makes us all equal. These students want to come learn, but then even when I just use the language these students, like, you know, what does it—how does it impact our ability to teach and the students’ ability to learn at whatever level, when they are pretty much labeled and categorized in the different areas I’ve heard? Like, you’re an immigrant. You’re a DREAMer. You’re a—you know? That definitely has an impact, even when—I have three small children. And one went through some troubles because of COVID. And they’re even in private school. So the learning development for my youngest was a challenge. But even then, at a private institution, I had to address how she was then being labeled immediately by performance or labeled by even from where she comes from. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of investment or consideration of this type of thing? Because that does—wouldn’t you agree that that would impact, one, a teacher’s ability to teach at a certain level, and also a student’s connection with receiving the education, if you have these labels that are, like, these folks, those people, these refugees, do they deserve this? Instead of, these are young adults experiencing refugee status. These are young adults—because then it reclaims the humanity of them. Just like my girls know, I’m African American, our ancestors were not slaves. They were enslaved. Because we are aware now of what that denotes when you place labels. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of inquiry into that? Because I really believe that that could be a strong—there could be a correlation to the outcome of these programs as well, and how we are addressing the students. Because it kind of places a barrier between us and these young adults. GRANATO: I think it’s a really excellent question. And, again, an area that needs more research, especially when we’re talking about integrating displaced learners into—primarily into environments where the majority of students are not displaced. So a student going to your university, for example, there by necessity needs to be an awareness of the context of where this person came from, at least among the staff, administrators, and faculty, because they will bring with them—they will bring with them a certain experience that needs attention. Definitely trauma that might or might not need attention, but legal questions that will need attention. So that has to be—there has to be awareness. But the question of how they are perceived by their classmates and the ways in which they kind of categorize themselves, I mean, I certainly can’t speak for the refugee population. But I’ve heard a number of our students speak to when they go to third countries and they enroll in universities, where they’re not surrounded by their compatriots in the same way. And they don’t want to identify as refugees. They don’t want to be labeled that way. They want to be identified as students. Now, what kind of psychological studies have been done on that, I think that’s an area that’s somewhat under-researched still. But there’s—I think there’s a difference between awareness and labeling too. And that awareness is critical in these university settings, where these students are going to come with a very different set of needs and requirements. Q: OK. So I guess—I guess my only question is—and you’re seeing what I’m saying about research. So is that something separate from what you’re doing? That cannot be integrated into the praxis in what your—and the pedagogy in which you’re—which you brilliantly presented earlier? Because I’m saying that that is a huge impact. Because we can have all the tools to say, hey, this can work, and this can work, and this can work. But something like that, in its—you know, it has a huge impact. And I’m not just speaking for the students, because the students, yeah, they bring their own things. But I’m talking about—I’m speaking as an educator. And as educators, how that can be perhaps—or, not perhaps—how that should be included in faculty around what you’re addressing. But thank you for letting me ask the question. GRANATO: Yeah. And I mean, I think you’re absolutely right. And, the work that we do with students in the bridging program, again, this is my example from the context I work in, we do a lot of work, you know, you mentioned bell hooks. We do a lot of work in trying to get the students to think – to think about content and ideas outside of their own contexts. And yet, they’re very much in their context there. And the label in a camp is important to them. They use it. You know, in their camp setting, it becomes a tool. But that’s very different when they’re then removed from that kind of majority area, where everybody is the same as them. So, no, I mean, you’re raising a really important question, and one that needs to be thought of, especially in third countries. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Sana Tayyen, who’s at the University of Redlands in California. When developed countries, like Sweden and Germany, accept refugees, do they usually have an agenda as to the types of jobs and pathways they want refugees to end up in? Not 100 percent sure on this, but I’ve heard of Syrian refugees being brought into Sweden to fill service jobs for an aging population. Will higher education cater to government agendas? GRANATO: It’s a good question. So the path—this question is really about what we would call third country pathways, where refugees are moved from a country of first asylum to a third country for the purposes of higher education. I think that’s what you’re asking, Sana. You know, in the programs that we work with, as OSUN but also OSUN co-chairs what is called the Global Taskforce on Third Country Higher Education Pathways, we work with institutions and governments that don’t have that agenda. Promoting an agenda like that, that refugees should be coming in to fill a particular service, undermines the purpose of higher education and the mission of a higher education opening up possibility. So if you look at Germany, higher education pathways, students can come in and they can study—they can study anything at an institution that they’re accepted to. They have to be accepted to the institution. In France, it’s the same. There are many different options that the students can choose from in terms of majors. The important part is that they have the ability to work after, and that their ability to work—that their work permit allows them to work across sectors. So those are the pathways that are under development. And those are the ones that we, for example, support. I’m not—I don’t know about that case you’re referring to in Sweden. I can’t really speak to that because I’m not sure. But I can’t imagine that’s 100 percent accurate, but I will look that up. FASKIANOS: Great. So next question from Ellen Chesler. Can you speak in more detail about OSUN’s program for Afghan refugee students at Bard College in the U.S. and the American University of Central Asia in Tashkent? And how are these programs going? GRANATO: So Bard took in—Bard, and our partner, American University of Central Asia, took in a number of students, it’s around two hundred, into BA and MA programs. The number will go up. There will be another intake. The program is partially—the scholarships are partially funded by Bard itself. You know, we do tuition remission. AUCA does tuition remission. There’s donors that contribute. I guess how is it going? It’s been a heavy lift. You know, it’s very different from bringing in international students. And international students, they’re already quite complicated to bring into a university setting, as you all well know. But bringing in the Afghan students into America was particularly complicated because we don’t yet have this refugee visa category. So the students came in through referrals, the P4 process—sorry—the P3 process. But many of them came in on student visas. And student visas are not a sustainable mechanism. They only last for the duration of the degree. So now what Bard is trying to do is figure out what’s next for these students. And we’re having to do it on a case-by-case basis. You know, figuring out what’s going to happen to them after, what kind of legal status they’re going to have. Are they going to claim asylum and be stuck in that system, and not be able to work? Are they going to be able to transition to some kind of residency? And this is all because this special refugee visa category does not exist yet. Next year, hopefully, it will be a very different scenario. At the American University if Central Asia, it’s also had a different set of struggles. I know that the university there has struggled with a lot of—a lot of trauma. I mean, there’s been a lot of psychosocial issues that have come up, and a lot of issues with students attending classes, because they’re really struggling. And the university—Bard and AUCA, you know, it’s a bit lift to equip your staff with the extra skills they need to deal with this, and the extra staffing you need. I mean, you need more people. And it happened so quickly that I feel like there’s been kind of a catch up. So I think—I hope that answers your question. I’m not sure if your question was how is it going was a different one, but I hope that answers it. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have two more questions I’d love to get in, from Dr. Adegbola Ojo, who’s at the University of Leeds in the UK. Apart from financial remittances, is there evidence of other forms of positives, e.g., brain gain, in home countries resulting in the human capital flight of refugees? GRANATO: When you say “home countries,” do you mean their countries of origin, or do you mean the countries they are going to becoming their home countries. FASKIANOS: Right. I’m not sure. Dr. Ojo, do you want to unmute and clarify? Because I read exactly what was in the question. (Laughs.) Q: Yes. Yes, thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Q: Yeah, yeah. It’s countries of origin. GRANATO: Countries of origin. Q: Yes. GRANATO: That’s a good question. And, again, it’s an understudied area. The number—you know, an understudied area of people who have gone and sought an education, gone from a third country—sorry—a country of first asylum, to a third country for education, who have then gone back. I don’t actually know the exact numbers. I don’t know what the exact numbers are of people who might have gotten a university education—say, in the UK—and then they return to their country of origin. I imagine it’s quite small. So I don’t—and there aren’t studies on that particular question. When it comes to brain gain, of course, most refugees who leave, say, a camp-based setting, they don’t—the vast majority do not go back to the camp. Most of them can’t. In Kenya, you can return to a camp. In a place like Cox’s Bazar you wouldn’t be able to. In a place like Rwanda, you could. So it’s different in every—in every place. In Jordan, you wouldn’t be able to return. So it would also be difficult to track if people return what kind of impact it would have because most of them actually don’t. Most of them remain in the country that they go to educate—to be educated. But it would be interesting to look at the numbers that return to their countries of origin, and what that net brain gain is. I think it’s a really good question. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer. Q: Well, thank you. I do think that that would be a knowledge gap there, and potentially area for further research. Yeah, something to think about. GRANATO: It’s a good research question, yeah. Q: Thank you. GRANATO: What I can say—although, maybe there’s another question. I was going to add something, but maybe— FASKIANOS: No. No, go ahead. Just have a—go ahead. GRANATO: OK. I was just going to say, it’s a little different from your question about brain gain, but there have been some recent studies on refugees who don’t leave the camp but get an education, and have a degree, and then actually have really no very pronounced livelihood opportunity that’s connected to their degree. And some of those studies have looked about the increase in things like depression and anxiety. And the sort of negative impacts of higher education, when then there’s no livelihood opportunity that really is connected to the degree itself. So I know it’s different from your question, but just it made me think of it. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So we’ll take the final question from Sneha Bharadwaj, who’s a professor at Texas Woman’s University. How can we get involved in this mission? So that’s a good question to end on, on what administrators and educators can do in their own institutions. GRANATO: So I think there’s a couple of things. First, I’ve already mentioned a few times that there will be this initiative in the U.S., and of course, Texas Woman’s University would be an institution that could participate in this, with this new refugee visa category and taking students in from countries of first asylum. But that’s going to still be a very small number. I mean, the vast majority of refugees will not be traveling for third-country opportunities. The vast majority will need to be educated in their country of first asylum. And, you know, offering online opportunities for students is always something that refugees are interested in, in camp-based settings. We find that online opportunities really only work if there’s also some infrastructure on the ground to support them. Very remote instruction, often, there’s just major attrition. But if you have online offerings, you could come together with other partners, you could think about ways that you could offer some kind of online degree, if that’s something that your institution is accredited for. Again, getting back to this network idea. Networks of institutions can do that collaboratively, so it’s not as much of a heavy lift. There’s always opportunities as well, and need, in refugee settings for additional research to be done, and for collaboration on things like faculty development inside camp settings, and training of teaching assistants. Those are also areas where there’s quite a bit of need. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are at the end of our time. So I thank you for taking your evening—giving your evening to us, Rebecca. You are in Nairobi, so it’s late there. And to all of you for being with us, and for your questions and comments. We really appreciate it. GRANATO: Thank you. Thank you for having me. FASKIANOS: You can follow Rebecca Granato on Twitter at @rebecca_granato. And you will receive an invitation to our next Higher Education Webinar shortly. But in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you, again, for joining us today. And we look forward to your continued participation in the Higher Education Webinar Series. (END)

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March 31, 2022

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