CFR Academic

Academic Program


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, formerly the Academic Conference Call series now in Zoom webinar format, 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 after the fact.

View the Fall 2022 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


Anne C. Richard, distinguished fellow and Afghanistan coordination lead at Freedom House, will lead a conversation on refugees and global migration. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to the final session of the Winter/Spring 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Anne Richard with us today to talk about refugees and global migration. Ms. Richard is a distinguished fellow and Afghanistan coordination lead at Freedom House. She has taught at several universities including Georgetown, University of Virginia, Hamilton College, and the University of Pennsylvania. From 2012 to 2017, Ms. Richard served as an assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, and before joining the Obama administration she served as vice president of government relations and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. She has also worked at the Peace Corps headquarters and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and is a member of CFR. So, Anne, thank you very much for being with us today. With your background and experience, it would be great if you could talk from your vantage point—give us an overview of the current refugee trends you are—we are seeing around the world, especially vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, et cetera. RICHARD: Thank you so much, Irina, for inviting me today and for always welcoming me back to the Council. And thank you to your team for putting this together. I’m very happy to speak about the global refugee situation, which, unfortunately, has, once again, grown yet larger in a way that is sort of stumping the international community in terms of what can well-meaning governments do, what can foundations and charitable efforts and the United Nations (UN) do to help displaced people. I thought we could start off talking a little bit about definitions and data, and the idea is that I only speak about ten minutes at this beginning part so that we can get to your questions all the more quickly. But for all of us to be on the same wavelength, let’s recall that refugees, as a group, have an organization that is supposed to look out for them. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is the title of the number-one person in the organization, but the entire organization is known by that name, UNHCR, or the UN Refugee Agency. It also has a convention—the 1951 Refugee Convention—that came about after World War II and was very focused on not allowing to happen again what had happened during World War II where victims of the Nazis and, as time went on, people fleeing fascism, people fleeing communism, couldn’t get out of their countries and were persecuted because of this. And there’s a legal definition that comes out of the convention that different countries have, and the U.S. legal definition matches very much the convention’s, which is that refugees have crossed an international border—they’re not in their home country anymore—and once they’ve crossed an international border the sense is that they are depending on the international community to help them and that they’re fleeing for specific purposes—their race, their religion, their ethnicity, their membership in a particular social group such as being LGBTQ, or political thought. And if you think back to the Cold War, these were some of the refugees coming out of the former Soviet Union, coming out of Eastern Europe, were people who had spoken out and were in trouble and so had to flee their home countries. So what are the numbers then? And I’m going to refer you to a very useful page on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees website, which is their “Figures at a Glance” presentation, and we’re going to reference some of the numbers that are up there now. But those numbers change every year. They change on June 20, which is World Refugee Day. And so every year it hits the headlines that the numbers have gone up, unfortunately, and you can anticipate this if you think in terms of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It’s usually June 20, 21, 22. So June 20, that first possible day, is every year World Refugee Day. So if you’re working on behalf of refugees it’s good sometimes to schedule events or anticipate newspaper articles and conversations about refugees ticking up in—at the end of June. So if you were paying attention last June for World Refugee Day, UNHCR would have unveiled a number of 82.4 million refugees around the world, and so this upcoming June what do we anticipate? Well, we anticipate the numbers will go up again and, in fact, yesterday the high commissioner was in Washington, met with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and they met the press and Filippo Grandi, the current high commissioner, said that he thinks the number is closer to ninety-five to ninety-six million refugees. So, clearly, a couple things have happened since last June. One is that so many people are trying to flee Afghanistan and another is so many people have fled Ukraine. So if we went back to that $82.4 million figure that we know we have details on, we would find that this is the figure of people who are displaced because of conflict or persecution around the world. The ones that count as refugees who have actually crossed an international border is a smaller number. It’s 20.7 million people that UNHCR is concerned about and then another close to six million people who are Palestinians in the Middle East whose displacement goes back to 1948, the creation of the statehood of Israel, and upheaval in the Middle East region as Palestinians were shifted to live elsewhere. And so—and they are provided assistance by a different UN agency, UNRWA—UN Relief Works Administration in the Near East—and so if you see a number or you see two sets of numbers for refugees and they’re off by about five or six million people, the difference is the Palestinian, that number—whether it’s being counted in, which is for worldwide numbers, or out because UNHCR cares for most refugees on Earth but did not have the responsibility for the Palestinians since UNRWA was set up with that specific responsibility. So what’s the big difference then between the eighty-two million, now growing to ninety-five million, and this smaller number of refugees? It’s internally displaced persons (IDPs). These are people who are displaced by conflict or are displaced by persecution, are running for their lives, but they haven’t left their own countries yet. So think of Syrians who, perhaps, are displaced by war and they have crossed their own countries and gone to a safer place within their own country but they haven’t crossed that border yet. Others who have crossed into Lebanon or Turkey or Jordan or Iraq or have gone further afield to Egypt, those would be considered refugees. Who’s responsible for the IDPs then? Well, legally, their own countries are supposed to take care of them. But in my Syria example, the problem is Syria was bombing its own people in certain areas of the country, and so they were not protecting their own people as they should be. People can be displaced by things other than war and conflict and persecution, of course. More and more we talk about climate displacement, and this is a hot issue that we can talk about later. But who’s responsible then when people are displaced by changing climactic conditions and it’s their own governments who are supposed to help them? But more and more questions have been raised about, well, should the international community come together and do more for this group of people—for internally displaced persons—especially when their own governments are unwilling or unable to do so? What about migrants? Who are the migrants? Migrants is a much broader term. Everyone I’ve talked about so far who’s crossed a border counts as a migrant. Migrants are just people on the go, and the International Organization for Migration estimates there’s about 281 million migrants on Earth today—about 3.6 percent of the world population—and one of the big issues I’ve pushed is to not see migrants as a dirty word. Unfortunately, it often is described that way—that migratory flows are bad, when, in fact, lots of people are migrants. Students who travel to the U.S. to take classes are migrants to our country. The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, who was himself for eleven years the high commissioner for refugees, he says, I am a migrant, because he’s a Portuguese person working in New York City. People hired by Silicon Valley from around the world to work in high-paid jobs, legally in the United States, they are migrants. More concerning are vulnerable migrants, people who are displaced and don’t have the wherewithal to, necessarily, protect themselves, take care of themselves, on the march or where they end up, or also if they’re seen as traveling without papers, not welcome in the places where they’re going, that can be a very, very dangerous situation for them. So be aware that migrants is a really broad all-encompassing term that can include travelers, businesspeople, as well as vulnerable and very poor people who are economic migrants. Finally, immigrants are people who set out and migrate because they intend to live somewhere else, and when we were talking about the Trump administration’s policies to reduce the number of refugees coming to the U.S. we also see that immigration to the U.S. also was decreased during that administration as well. So both the refugee program and a lot of the immigration pathways to the U.S. are now being examined and trying to be not just fixed, because a lot of them have needed care for quite some time, but also put back on a growth trajectory. And then asylum seekers are people who get to a country on their own, either they have traveled to a border or they pop up inside a country because they have gotten in legally through some other means such as a visitor visa or business visa, and then they say, I can’t go home again. It’s too dangerous for me to go home again. Please, may I have asylum? May I be allowed to stay here and be protected in your country? So that’s a lot of different terminology. But the more you work on it, the more these terms—you get more familiar using them and understand the differences between them that experts or legal experts use. So ninety-five to ninety-six million people, as we see another eleven million people fleeing Ukraine and of that four million, at least, have crossed the borders into neighboring countries and another seven million are internally displaced, still inside Ukraine but they’ve gone someplace that they feel is safer than where they were before. When we looked at the eighty million refugees and displaced people, we knew that two-thirds of that number came from just five countries, and one of the important points about that is it shows you what could happen, the good that could be done, if we were able to push through peace negotiations or resolutions of conflict and persecution, if we could just convince good governance and protection of people—minorities, people with different political thought, different religious backgrounds—inside countries. So the number-one country still remains Syria that has lost 6.7 million people to neighboring countries, primarily. Secondly was Venezuela, four million. Third was Afghanistan. The old number from before last August was 2.6 million and some hundreds of thousands have fled since. And the only reason there aren’t more fleeing is that they have a really hard time getting out of their country, and we can talk more about that in a moment. The fourth are Rohingya refugees fleeing from Burma, or Myanmar. That’s 1.1 million, and the fifth was Southern Sudanese, 2.2 million, who have fled unrest and violence in that country. So we know that we have not enough peace, not enough solutions, and we have too much poverty, too, and dangers. In addition to the Venezuelans, another group that has approached the U.S. from the southern border that were in the paper, especially around election times, is from the Northern Triangle of Central America, so El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These are people who could be fleeing because of economic situations and could also be fleeing from criminal violence, gangs, warfare, narcotraffickers. And so if they are fleeing for their lives and approaching our southern border, we are supposed to give them a hearing and consider whether they have a case for asylum, and the—unfortunately, that is not well understood, especially not by folks working at our borders. The Customs and Border Protection folks are more and more focused on, since 9/11, ensuring that bad guys don’t come across, that terrorists don’t come across, that criminals don’t come across. And we heard in the Trump administration conversations about Mexicans as rapists, gang warfare being imported into the U.S. from Central America when, in fact, some of it had been originally exported, and this sense that people from the Middle East were terrorists. And so really harsh language about the types of people who were trying to make it to the U.S. and to get in. Some final thoughts so that we can get to the question and answer. The U.S. government has traditionally been the top donor to refugee and humanitarian efforts around the world. The bureau at the State Department I used to run, the Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau, was a major donor to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—UNRWA—the International Committee of the Red Cross, and also the International Organization for Migration, which used to be an independent organization and is now part of the UN since 2016. We were also the number-one resettlement location, the formal program for bringing refugees to the United States, and when I was assistant secretary we brought seventy thousand refugees per year to the United States, invited them to come through a program that took eighteen months to twenty-four months, on average, to get them in because they had to be vetted for security reasons. They had to pass medical tests. Their backgrounds had to be investigated to see that they were who they said they were. And that number went higher in the last year of the Obama administration to eighty-five thousand refugees and, in fact, the Obama administration proposed some very strong additional measures to help refugees. But the Trump administration threw that all into reverse with a completely different set of policies. So the numbers then became reduced every year—fifty-three thousand in the first year of the Trump administration, 22,500 the next year, thirty thousand in 2019, 11,814 in 2020, a similar number in 2021, and slow numbers coming today, this despite bringing so many Afghans through an evacuation exercise last summer. Many of the people who were evacuated were American citizens or green card holders. Afghans who had worked for the U.S. but did not have their formal paperwork yet were brought in under what’s called humanitarian parole, and the problem with that program is that it’s no guarantee for a longer-term stay in the United States. So there’s a bill in Congress right now to address that. A lot of the people who worked on that, especially within the U.S. government, are proud that they’ve scrambled and brought so many people so quickly—120,000 people brought from Afghanistan. At the same time, those of us who are advocates for refugees would say too many people were left behind and the evacuation should continue, and that’s a real concern. In terms of resettlement in the U.S., it’s a program run—public-private partnership—and we’ve never seen so many volunteers and people helping as there are right now, and initiatives to help welcome people to the United States, which is fantastic. I would say the program should be one of humanity, efficiency, and generosity, and that generosity part has been tough to achieve because the government piece of it is kind of stingy. It’s kind of a tough love welcome to the United States where the refugees are expected to get jobs and the kids to go to school and the families to support themselves. So let me stop there because I’ve been just talking too long, I know, and take questions. FASKIANOS: It’s fantastic, and thank you for really clarifying the definitions and the numbers. Just a quick question. You said the U.S. government is the top donor. What is the percentage of DVP? I mean, it’s pretty— RICHARD: Tiny. Yeah. FASKIANOS: —tiny, right? I think there’s this lack of understanding that it may seem like a big number but in our overall budget it’s minuscule. So if you could just give us a— RICHARD: Yeah. It’s grown in the last few years because of all these crises around the world to ten to twelve million—I mean, ten billion dollars to twelve billion (dollars) between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, which was bigger. It was around seven or eight billion (dollars) when I was the assistant secretary five, six years ago. But the important part of it was it provided the whole backbone to the international humanitarian system. Governments, some of them, saw Americans sometimes as headaches in terms of we, Americans, telling them what to do or we, Americans, having our own ideas of how to do things or we, Americans, demanding always budget cuts and efficiencies. But the fact is the whole humanitarian enterprise around the world is based on American generosity, especially the big operating agencies like World Food Programme, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Development Program. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So now we’re going to go to all you for your questions. Hands are already up and Q&A written questions. So I’ll try to get to everybody as much as I can. I’m going to go—the first question from Rey Koslowski, and if you can unmute yourself and give us your institution that would be fantastic. RICHARD: Hi, Rey. Q: All right. Rey Koslowski, University at Albany. Hi, Anne. Good to see you. I’d like to pick up on the use of humanitarian parole. So, as I understand it, it’s being utilized for Afghan evacuees, Afghans, who you mentioned, who didn’t—weren’t able to get on the flights and were left behind, but also for Ukrainians. You know, President Biden announced a hundred thousand Ukrainians. I mean, a very—we’re using other channels but we’ve had, I believe, three thousand at the U.S.-Mexican border and, I believe, they’re being paroled for the most part, right. As I understand it, we’re—one DHS letter that I saw said that there were forty-one thousand requests for humanitarian parole for Afghan nationals. But I’m wondering about capacity of the USCIS to handle this, to process this, because, you know, normally, I think, maybe two thousand or so, a couple thousand, are processed, maybe a couple of people who do this, and also in conjunction with the challenges for processing all of the asylum applications. So, as I understand it, back in the fall there was some discussion of hiring a thousand asylum officers—additional asylum officers. I was wondering, what are your thoughts about our capacity to process all of the—the U.S. government’s capacity to process the humanitarian parole applications and the asylum applications, and if you have any insights on new hires and how many— RICHARD: Well, you know, Rey, at Freedom House now I’m working on a project to help Afghan human rights defenders and— Q: Right. RICHARD: —the idea is that they can restart their work if we can find a way for them to be safe inside Afghanistan, which is very hard with the Taliban in charge right now, or if in exile they can restart their work. And so we’re watching to see where Afghans are allowed to go in the world as they seek sanctuary and the answer is they don’t get very far. It’s very hard to get out of the country. If they get to Pakistan or Iran, they don’t feel safe. They have short-term visas to stay there, and the programs that might bring them further along like resettlement of refugees are—take a much longer time to qualify for and then to spring into action, and so they’re stuck. You know, they’re afraid of being pushed back into Afghanistan. They’re afraid of becoming undocumented and running out of money wherever they are, and so they’re in great need of help. The humanitarian parole program sort of—for bringing Afghans into the U.S. sort of understood that our eighteen- to twenty-four-month refugee resettlement program was a life-saving program but it wasn’t an emergency program. It didn’t work on an urgent basis. It didn’t scoop people up and move them overnight, and that’s, really, what was called for last August was getting people—large numbers of people—out of harm’s way. And so when I was assistant secretary, if we knew someone was in imminent danger we might work with another government. I remember that the Scandinavians were seen as people who were more—who were less risk averse and would take people who hadn’t had this vast vetting done but would take small numbers and bring them to safety, whereas the U.S. did things in very large numbers but very slowly. And so this lack of emergency program has really been what’s held us back in providing the kind of assistance, I think, people were looking for the Afghans. I was surprised we even brought them into the United States. I thought after 9/11 we’d never see that kind of program of bringing people in with so little time spent on checking. But what they did was they moved up them to the front of the line and checked them very quickly while they were on the move. So it was safe to do but it was unusual, and I think part of that was because the military—the U.S. military—was so supportive of it and U.S. veterans were so supportive of it and we had, for the first time in a while, both the right and the left of the political spectrum supporting this. So the problem with humanitarian parole is I remember it being used, for example, for Haitians who had been injured in the Haitian earthquake and they needed specialized health care—let’s say, all their bones were crushed in their legs or something. They could be paroled into the U.S., get that health care that they needed, and then sent home again. So we’ve not used it for large numbers of people coming in at once. So what refugee advocates are seeking right now from Congress is the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would give people a more permanent legal status. They would be treated as if they were—had come through the refugee resettlement program and they’d get to stay. So you’re right that the numbers being granted humanitarian parole at one time is just not the normal way of doing things. You’re also right that the—this is a lot of extra work on people who weren’t anticipating it, and more can continue with the hundred thousand Ukrainians who the president has said we will take in. And so the thing is when we have these kind of challenges in the United States one way to deal with it is to spend more money and do a better job, and that seems to be an option for certain challenges we face but not for all challenges we face. With these more humanitarian things, we tend to have tried to do it on the cheap and to also use the charity and partner with charities and churches more than if this were sort of a more business-oriented program. So we need all of the above. We need more government funding for the people who are working the borders and are welcoming people in or are reviewing their backgrounds. We need more assistance from the public, from the private sector, from foundations, because the times demand it. And it’s very interesting to me to see Welcome US created last year with three former U.S. presidents—President Bush, President Clinton, President Obama—speaking up about it, saying, please support this, and people from across the political aisle supporting it. I wish that had existed in 2015 when we were grappling with these issues at the time of candidate Trump. So the needs are greater. Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean we have to just suffer through and struggle through and have long backups like we do right now. We could be trying to put more resources behind it. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the next written question from Haley Manigold, who’s an IR undergrad student at University of North Florida. We know that the war in Ukraine is going to affect grain and food supplies for the MENA countries. Is there any way you would recommend for Europe and other neighboring regions to manage the refugee flows? RICHARD: The first part of that was about the food issue but then you said— FASKIANOS: Correct, and then this is a pivot to manage the refugee flows. So— RICHARD: Well, the Europeans are treating the Ukrainians unlike any other flow of people that we’ve seen lately. It goes a little bit back and reminiscent to people fleeing the Balkans during the 1990s. But we saw that with a million people in 2015 walking into Europe from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan—mix of economic migrants and real refugees—that Europe, at first, under Angela Merkel’s leadership were welcoming to these folks showing up, and then there was a backlash and the walls came up on that route from the Balkans to Germany and to Sweden. And so in the last few years, Europeans have not been seen as champions in allowing—rescuing people who are trying to get to Europe on their own. You know, especially the Mediterranean has been a pretty dismal place where we see Africans from sub-Saharan Africa working their way up to North Africa and trying to get from Libya across the Mediterranean to Europe. These are mostly economic migrants but not solely economic migrants, and they deserve to have a hearing and, instead, they have been terribly mistreated. They get stopped by the Libyan coast guard, the Europeans push boats back, and they are offloaded back into Libya and they are practically imprisoned and mistreated in North Africa. So that’s a terribly inhumane way to treat people who are trying to rescue themselves, their families, and find a better life. And another point to the Europeans has been, couldn’t you use these young people taking initiative trying to have a better life and work hard and get on with their lives, and the answer is yes. Europe has this sort of aging demographic and could definitely use an infusion of younger workers and talented people coming in. But, instead, they have really pushed to keep people out. So what’s happened with Ukrainians? They’re seen as a different category. They’re seen as neighbors. There’s a part of it that is positive, which is a sense that the countries right next door have to help them. Poland, Moldova, other countries, are taking in the Ukrainians. The borders are open. If they get to Poland they can get free train fare to Germany. Germany will take them in, and that’s a beautiful thing. And the upsetting thing is the sense that there is undertones of racism, also anti-Islam, where darker-skinned people were not at all welcome and people who are not Christian were not welcome. And so it’s probably a mix of all the above, the good and the bad, and it’s potentially an opportunity to teach more people about “refugeehood” and why we care and why it affects all of us and what we should do about it and that we should do more. FASKIANOS: Thank you. All right, I’m going to take the next question from Kazi Sazid, who has also raised their hand, so if you could just ask your question yourself and identify yourself. Q: Hello. So I’m Kazi. I’m a student at CUNY Hunter College and I happen to be writing a research paper on Central American and Iraq war refugee crises and how international law hasn’t changed the behavior of a state helping them. So my question is, how does confusion and ignorance of migration and refugee terminology by state leaders and the general populace impact the legally ordained rights of refugees such as having identity documents, having the right to education, refoulement, which is not being sent back to a country where they are danger? One example is like Central Americans are termed as illegal immigrants by the right wing but the reality is they are asylum seekers who are worthy of refugee status because gang violence and corruption has destabilized their country and the judicial systems. I think femicide in El Salvador and Honduras is among the highest and—so yeah. RICHARD: Yeah. Thank you for asking the question, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Hunter College. Only one of my grandparents went to college and it was my mother’s mother who went to Hunter College and graduated in the late 1920s, and as we know, it’s right down the street from the Harold Pratt House, the home of the Council on Foreign Relations. So I think a lot of what you—I agree with a lot of what you’ve said about—for me it’s describing these people who offer so much potential as threats, just because they are trying to help themselves. And instead of feeling that we should support these folks, there’s a sense of—even if we don’t allow them in our country we could still do things to ease their way and help them find better solutions, but they’re described as these waves of people coming this way, headed this way, scary, scary. And if you follow the debates in the United States, I was very alarmed before and during the Trump administration that journalists did not establish that they had a right to make a claim for asylum at the border. Instead, they talked about it as if it were two political policies duking it out, where some people felt we should take more and some people felt we should take less. Well, the issue that was missed, I felt, in a lot of the coverage of the Southern border was the right to asylum, that they had a right to make a claim, that we had signed onto this as the United States and that there was a very good reason that we had signed onto that and it was to make sure people fleeing for their lives get an opportunity to be saved if they’re innocent people and not criminals, but innocent people who are threatened, that we’d give them a place of safety. So I agree with you that the lack of understanding about these basic principles, agreements, conventions is something that is not well understood by our society, and certainly the society was not being informed of that by a lot of the messengers describing the situation over the past few years. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to take the next question from Lindsey McCormack who is an undergrad at Baruch—oh, sorry, a graduate student at Baruch College. My apologies. Do you see any possibility of the U.S. adopting a protocol for vetting and accepting climate refugees? Have other countries moved in that direction? And maybe you can give us the definition of a climate refugee and what we will in fact be seeing as we see climate change affecting all of us. RICHARD: I don’t have a lot to say on this, so I hate to disappoint you, but I will say a couple things because, one, I was on a task force at Refugees International, which is a very good NGO that writes about and reports on refugee situations around the world and shines a light on them. I was part of a task force that came out with a report for the Biden administration on the need to do more for climate migrants, and so that report is available at the Refugees International site and it was being submitted to the Biden administration because the Biden administration had put out an executive order on refugees that included a piece that said we want to do a better job, we want to come up with new, fresh ideas on climate migrants. So I don’t know where that stands right now, but I think the other piece of information that I often give out while doing public speaking, especially to students, about this issue is that I feel not enough work has been done on it, and so if a student is very interested in staying in academia and studying deeper into some of these issues, I think climate migration is a field that is ripe for further work. It’s timely, it’s urgent, and it hasn’t been over-covered in the past. I admire several people, several friends who are working on these issues; one is Professor Beth Ferris at Georgetown University who was, in fact, on the secretary general’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement and she made sure that some of these climate issues are raised in very high-level meetings. She was also part of this task force from Refugees International. Another smart person working on this is Amali Tower, a former International Rescue Committee colleague who started a group called Climate Refugees and she’s also trying to bring more attention to this; she’s kind of very entrepreneurial in trying to do more on that. Not everybody would agree that the term should be climate refugees since “refugees” has so much legal definitions attached to it and the people displaced by climate don’t have those kind of protections or understandings built around them yet. But I think it’s an area that there definitely needs to be more work done. So I think the basic question was, did I think something good was going to happen anytime soon related to this, and I can’t tell because these crazy situations around the world, the war in Ukraine and Taliban in charge in Afghanistan—I mean, that just completely derails the types of exercises that the world needs of thinking through very logically good governance, people coming together making decisions, building something constructive instead of reacting to bad things. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from raised hand Ali Tarokh. And unmute your—thank you. Q: Yes. OK, I am Ali Tarokh from Northeastern University. I came here in the United States ten years ago as a refugee. And I was in Turkey—I flew Iran to Turkey. I stayed there fourteen, sixteen months. So this is part of—my question is part of my lived experience in Turkey. So one part is humanitarian services, helping refugees move into the third country, OK? The one issue I—it’s my personal experience is the UNHCR system, there is many corruptions. This corruption makes lines, OK, produce refugees—because some countries such as Iran and Turkey, they are producing refugees and there is no solution for it, or sometimes they use it as—they use refugees as a weapon. They say, OK, if you don’t work with me—Turkey sent a message to EU: If you don’t work with me, I open the borders. I open the borders and send the flow of refugees to EU. Even some—even Iran’s government. So my question is, how can we in the very base on the ground—the level of the ground—how can we prevent all these corruption or how can we work out with this kind of government, countries that are—I named them the refugee producers. And by the time there is two sides of the refugees—one is just humanitarian services, which is our responsibility, United States playing globally there; and other side it seems refugees issue became like industry. In Turkey, the UNHCR staff, some lawyers/attorneys, they take money from people, they make fake cases for them. Even they ask them: Hey, what country—which country would you like to go, United States, Canada, Scandinavian countries? So what is our strategy? What is our solution to help real refugees or prevent produce refugees? RICHARD: Well, there’s several things that are raised by your question. Turkey and, now we see, Russia have both been countries where we have seen instances where they can turn on the flow of refugees and turn it off. And Turkey was watching people walk through Turkey, cross the Mediterranean is very scary, dangerous trip between Turkey and Greece in these rubber boats in 2015, 2016, and then they would make their way onward, and then, because of this big EU-Turkey deal that involved 3 billion euros at the time, all of a sudden, the flow stopped. And then in further negotiations going on and on, Turkey would say things that seemed like it came right from a Godfather movie, like, gee, I’d hate to see that flow start up again; that would be a real shame. And so it was clear it was sort of a threat that if you didn’t cooperate it could play this very disruptive role on the edges of Europe and deploying people, as you said, which is so cruel not just to the people who are receiving them but to the individuals themselves that they’re not being seen as people who need care but instead as a problem to be deployed in different directions. And we saw that also with Belarus and Poland and now also it may have been part of the thinking of Vladimir Putin that by attacking Ukraine, by going to war with Ukraine that there would be exactly what is happening now, people scattering from Ukraine into Europe and that that would be a way to drive a wedge between European countries and cause a lot of not just heartache but also animosity between these countries. So what the Russians didn’t seem to appreciate this time was that there would be so much solidarity to help the Ukrainians, and that has been a bit of a surprise. So you’ve also talked about corruption, though, and corruption is a problem all over the world for lots of different reasons, in business and it’s embedded in some societies in a way that sometimes people make cultural excuses for, but in reality we know it doesn’t have to be that way. But it is very hard to uproot and get rid of. So I find this work, the anti-corruption work going on around the world, really interesting and groups like Transparency International are just sort of fascinating as they try to really change the standards and the expectations from—the degree to which corruption is part of societies around the world. So UNHCR has to take great care to not hire people who are going to shake down and victimize refugees, and it’s not—there’s never a perfect situation, but I know that a lot of work is done to keep an eye on these kinds of programs so that the aid goes to the people who need it and it’s not sidetracked to go to bad guys. And the way I’ve seen it is, for example, if I travel overseas and I go to someplace where refugees are being resettled to the U.S. or they’re being interviewed for that, or I go to UNHCR office, there will be big signs up that will say the resettlement program does not cost money. If someone asks you for money, don’t pay it; you know, report this. And from time to time, there are mini scandals, but overall, it’s remarkable how much corruption is kept out of some of these programs. But it’s a never-ending fight. I agree with you in your analysis that this is a problem and in some countries more than others. FASKIANOS: So I’m going to take the next question from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who’s the chair of the political science department at Xavier University in New Orleans. There are reports in some news feeds that African refugees from Ukraine are being disallowed entry to some states accepting refugees. I think you did allude to this. Is there evidence of this, and if so, can the UN stop it or alleviate that situation? RICHARD: We saw before the Taliban took over in Afghanistan that some European countries were saying it was time for Afghans to go home again, and the idea that during this war it was safe for Afghans to go back—and especially for Afghans who are discriminated against even in the best of times in Afghanistan, like the Hazara minority. It’s just—I found that sort of unbelievable that some countries thought this was the right time to send people back to Afghanistan. And so at the moment there’s a weird situation in Afghanistan because it’s safer in some ways for the bulk of the people because the active fighting has—in large parts of the country—stopped. But it’s deadly dangerous for human rights defenders, women leaders, LBGTQ folks—anyone who tries to stand up to the Taliban—you know, scholars, thinkers, journalists. And so those are the folks that, in smaller numbers, we need to find some kind of way to rescue them and get them to safety while they are still inside Afghanistan or if that’s outside Afghanistan and in the region. The borders—the border situations change from time to time. For a while they were saying only people with passports could come out, and for most Afghan families, nobody had a passport or, if they did, it was a head of household had a passport for business or trade. But you wouldn’t have had passports for the spouse and the children. And so this has been a real dilemma. We also see a whole series of barriers to people getting out; so first you need a passport, then you need a visa to where you’re going, and then you might need a transit visa for a country that you are crossing. And what has come to pass is that people who are trying to help evacuate people from Afghanistan—a smaller and smaller number as the months go on; people are trying to make this happen because it’s so hard—that they will only take people out of the country if they feel that their onward travel is already figured out and that they have their visas for their final-destination country. So the actual number that’s getting out are tiny. And the people who have gotten out who are in either Pakistan or Iraq are very worried. And they’re afraid to be pushed back. They’re afraid they will run out of money. They are afraid—I think said this during my talk before—they’re afraid that there are people in Pakistan who will turn them in to the Taliban. And so it’s always hard to be a refugee, but right now it’s really frightening for people who are just trying to get to a safe place. FASKIANOS: And in terms of the discrimination that you referenced for refugees leaving the Ukraine, I mean, there have been some reports of EU—discrimination in European countries not accepting— RICHARD: Well, like African students who are studying in Ukraine— FASKIANOS: Yes. RICHARD: —who were not treated as if they were fleeing a country at war— FASKIANOS: Correct. RICHARD: —but instead were put in a different category and said, you know, go back, go home. FASKIANOS: Yes. RICHARD: Yeah, that’s—that is quite blatant— FASKIANOS: And there’s— RICHARD: And that was happening at the borders. FASKIANOS: Is there anything the UN can do about that, or is that really at the discretion of the countries—the accepting countries? RICHARD: Well, the—yeah, the UNHCR has these reception centers that they’ve set up, including between the border of Poland and Ukraine, and I think the other neighboring countries. And so if one can get to the reception center, one could potentially get additional help or be screened into—for special attention for needing some help that maybe a white Christian Ukrainian who spoke more than one language of the region would not need. FASKIANOS: Great. So let’s go to Susan Knott, who also wrote her question, but has raised her hand. So Susan, why don’t you just ask your question? And please unmute and identify yourself. KNOTT: OK, am I unmuted? FASKIANOS: Yes. KNOTT: OK. I am Susan Knott, University of Utah, Educational Policy and Leadership doctoral program. I am also a practicum intern at ASU, and I’m also a refugee services collaborator. And I’m engaged in a research project creating college and university pathways for refugees to resettle. I’m just wondering what your feel is about the current administration efforts in seeking to establish the pathway model similar to ASU’s Education for Humanity Initiative with Bard, and is there helping lead the Refugee Higher Education Access program that serves learners who require additional university-level preparation in order to transition into certificate and degree programs. And I just—I’m not just—and all of this buzz that’s going on since all of terrible crises are occurring, I’m not seeing a whole lot that—based on my own experience working with refugee education and training centers at colleges—on the college level, and learning about the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Ed and Immigration. I’m just wondering—and they’re saying let’s have this be more of a privately funded or partnerships with the university scholarships and private entities. What about a federally-funded university sponsorship program for refugee students given that the numbers or the data is showing that that age group is the largest number of just about every refugee population? RICHARD: That’s a really fascinating set of issues. I’m not the expert on them, so I’m going to disappoint you. but I appreciate that you took a little extra time in how you stated your intervention to add a lot of information for this group, which should very much care about this. I get a lot of questions every week about university programs that Afghan students could take advantage of. I don’t have a good handle on it, and I’m trying to do that with—I’m overdue for a conversation with Scholars at Risk in New York. Robert Quinn is the executive director of that, I believe. And so I’m glad you raised this and I’m not going to have a lot of extra to say about it. FASKIANOS: Anne, are there—is there—there’s a question in the chat in the Q&A about sources for data on U.S. initiatives toward refugees. Where would you direct people to go to get updates on the latest programs, et cetera? RICHARD: Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say the best summaries are done by not-for-profits outside the government than by the government. The best source for data on resettlement of refugees to the U.S. is a website that is funded by the U.S. government called—WRAPS spelled W-R-A-P-S-N-E-T dot-O-R-G. And in double-checking some of the things last summer, I felt that DHS had better descriptions of some of the programs than the State Department did, and that’s my bureau that I used to—run, so—but they are responsible for determining who is in and who is out of these different programs, so maybe that’s why they do. So there’s a lot on the DHS website that’s interesting if you are looking for more information. And one of the things the Council does, it has done a number of these special web presentations: one on refugees that I got to help on a couple of years ago, and I think there’s one up now on Ukrainians. And this is the type of public education function that the Council does so well I think because they fact-check everything, and so it’s very reliable. FASKIANOS: Thank you for that plug. You can find it all on—lots of backgrounders, and timelines, and things like that. So we don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to roll up two questions—one in the Q&A box and one because of your vast experience. So what role do NGOs play in refugee crises and migration initiatives, particularly in resettlement? And just from your perspective, Anne, you have been in academia, you’ve worked in the government, you worked at IRC, and now are at Freedom House. And so just—again, what would you share with the group about pursuing a career in this—government, non-government perspectives and, what students should be thinking about as they launch to their next phase in life. RICHARD: Yeah, that we could have a whole ‘nother hour on, right? That’s—(laughs)— FASKIANOS: I know, I know. It’s unfair to, right, do this at the very end, but— RICHARD: NGOs play really important roles in both the delivery of humanitarian assistance overseas and the help for resettlement in the United States. In the U.S. there are nine national networks of different groups; six are faith-based, three are not. They are non-sectarian, and they do amazing work on shoe-string budgets to—everything from meeting refugees at the airport, taking them to an apartment, showing them how the lights work and the toilet flushes, and coming back the next day, making sure they have an appropriate meal to have, and that the kids get in school, that people who need health care get it, and that adults who are able-bodied get jobs so they can support themselves. The other type of NGO are the human rights NGOs that now I’m doing more with, and I guess if you are thinking about careers in these, you have to ask yourself, you know, are you more of a pragmatic person where the most important thing is to save a life, or are you an idealist where you want to put out standards that are very high and push people to live up to them. Both types of organizations definitely help, but they just have very different ways of working. Another question for students is do you want high job security of a career in the U.S. government—say, as a Foreign Service Officer or as a civil servant where maybe you won’t move up very quickly, but you might have great sense of satisfaction that the things you were working on were making a difference because they were being decisively carried out by the U.S. or another government. Or do you prefer the relatively lean, flatter organizations of the NGO world where, as a young person, you can still have a lot of authority, and your views can be seen—can be heard by top layers because you’re not that far away from them. And so, NGOs are seen as more nimble, more fast moving, less job security. Having done both I think it really depends on your personality. Working in the government, you have to figure out a way to keep going even when people tell you no. You have figure out—or that it’s hard, or that it’s too complicated. You have to figure out ways to find the people who are creative, and can make thing happen, and can open doors, and can cut through red tape. In NGOs you can have a lot of influence. I was so surprised first time I was out of the State Department working for the International Rescue Committee one of my colleagues was telling me she just picks up the phone and calls the key guy on Capitol Hill and tells him what the law should be. That would never happen with a junior person in the U.S. government. You have to go through so many layers of bureaucracy, and approvals, and clearances. So, really, it depends on the type of person you are, and how you like to work, and the atmosphere in which you like to work. I can tell you you won’t get rich doing this type of work, unfortunately. But you might be able to make a decent living. I certainly have, and so I encourage students to either do this as a career or find ways to volunteer part-time, even if it’s tutoring a refugee kid down the block and not in some glamorous overseas location. I think you can get real sense of purpose out of doing this type of work. Thank you, Irina. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. And I have to say that your careful definitions of the different categories—and really, I think we all need to be more intentional about how we explain, talk about these issues because they are so complex, and there are so many dimensions, and it’s easy to make gross generalizations. But the way you laid this out was really, really important for deepening the understanding of this really—the challenge and the—what we’re seeing today. So thank you very much. RICHARD: Thank you. Thanks, everybody. FASKIANOS: So thanks to all—yeah, thanks to everybody for your great questions. Again, I apologize; we’re three minutes over. I couldn’t get to all your questions, so we will just have to continue looking at this issue. We will be announcing the fall Academic Webinar lineup in a month or so in our Academic Bulletin, so you can look for it there. Good luck with your end of the year, closing out your semester. And again, I encourage you to go to,, and for research analysis on global issues. And you can follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. So again, thank you, Anne Richard. Good luck to you all with finals, and have a good summer. (END)


Manjari Chatterjee Miller, CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, leads a conversation on why nations rise: China, India, and the narratives of great powers. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s sessions of the Winter/Spring 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Manjari Chatterjee Miller with us to talk about why nations rise. Dr. Miller is CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia. She’s currently on leave from Boston University where she is a tenured associate professor of international relations at Boston University’s (BU) Frederick Pardee School of Global Studies. Dr. Miller is also a research associate in the Contemporary South Asian Studies Program at Oxford University’s School of Global and Area Studies, and she’s been a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and several other universities. Dr. Miller is the author of several books, including her most recent one, which is what we’ll be focused on today, Why Nations Rise: Narratives and The Path to Great Power. And it’s a fantastic cover. I love that, Dr. Miller. So thank you for being with us and thank you. Love having you at CFR. I thought we could begin by you talking about some of the strands, the arguments from your book on what constitutes a rising power and why different countries rise and what the narrative is around that. MILLER: Yeah. Thank you so much, Irina. It is an honor to do this, and since I’m on leave from BU, it’s lovely to be talking to academics and students again. So let me just—you know, I’m going to answer your question by going back a little in time, which is that, you know, when I wrote my first book, I was really looking at China and India and why they had these very similar responses to how they saw the world and their foreign policy, and so they often saw themselves as victims of colonialism, and they would essentially take the position that they were being victimized by other countries when it came to certain issues. And doing that—when I finished this book, I would give talks on the book and people would say, but they’re rising powers, these countries are rising powers, so why do they talk about being victims when clearly they vanquished colonialism? And that was a really interesting question, right? So that was just a very interesting question. And I thought that’s true. You know, these countries are rising powers; when do countries forget? So I began looking at Chinese news, and Chinese newspapers were full of these stories about what it meant for China to rise and how it was going to be a great power and what it should do and how should it respond to the United States? And then I looked at Indian newspapers and I didn’t see much of that. I saw a lot of ideas on foreign policy but not really so much on India rising. So I thought, wow, this is really unusual. Is it normal for countries to be also calling themselves rising powers when other countries are, or is it not? So I went back to India and I did some interviews at really high levels of government and what I found really surprised me because it turned out that Indian officials were very uncomfortable with the idea of India as a rising power, they were not quite sure how to handle it, and they weren’t strategizing in a long-term way about what it meant for India to rise. And I thought, wow, that’s really weird. If we talk about rising powers so much, which we do because international relations is our specialty and we talk about rising powers a lot, as an important category of actors, what does it mean if one country talks about its rise and strategizes and another doesn’t? Is this normal? And so I started going back in time and I thought, OK, let me look at the one other country which is a rising power and that was the United States, and wow, I found the United States talked about its rise and then I found that Meiji Japan talked about its rise, but then you had other countries that had opportunities to, you know—where they were increasing their military and economic power but didn’t talk about their rise. India was one of them, but so was Cold War Japan, so was the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century, which was a very, very rich country. And so that’s really the crux of the book is that, we talk about rising powers, whether it’s us in the policy community or in the academic community—we talk about rising powers as this one category of actors, right, but that all rising powers are not created the same; there are different kinds of rising powers, and some of them behave exactly as we expect them to do, so they rise to become great powers, but then other rising powers seem stymied. And so what I argue in the book is that whether a country rises to become a great power or not is definitely dependent on its economic and military power, of course; you need that. But it is also dependent on what I call idea advocacy or, rather, the stories that these countries either tell or do not tell about their rise. And so the book really looks at two kinds of rising powers: one is active rising powers. So they rise to become great powers, they get military and economic power, but they also do what I call globalize their authority. So they basically start behaving as we would expect great powers to behave. And what’s really interesting here is that what—how we would expect great powers to behave is not always the same, so in the nineteenth century, what we expected a great power to do is different from what we expect a great power to do today. So these active rising powers in the beginning of their rise, what they are is they’re very accommodational of these great-power narratives, so that means they say, OK, hey, this is how a great power behaves, this is how we should behave, and so we’re going to try and behave like them. And this is actually counterintuitive to how we normally think about rising powers because we think about them as revisionist, but active rising powers in the beginning are accommodational. And then you have this other kind of rising powers that are reticent rising powers, and reticent rising powers don’t do that. So they don’t have these narratives. They have military and economic power, they have opportunities, often to take advantage of that military and economic power, but they don’t try and behave like the great power of the day; they don’t try and get recognition of the fact that they’re rising. They also lack narratives about becoming a great power. And so, I think the two big takeaways that I have is that when we talk about rising power, it’s a process, so you become a rising power through this whole process that involves this material power, but then it also involves these narratives about becoming a great power. And the reason this is really important is because coming back to this China-India story, what I argue is that if you look at this idea advocacy that India is lacking and China has, what we find is that this can explain the differences in behavior between them, so they’re not the same as rising powers. And this difference existed—I mean, of course, today we can say, look, China is just so much, you know, has just so much more in terms of military capability and economic power than India does and that would be correct. But in fact, we can see this even in the 1990s, right, so a period when their material power was comparable, we see that they developed very, very different narratives, so China had these narratives about becoming a great power, even at that time, and India did not. And so what we can really argue is that when we want to manage a rising power, these active rising powers that are the powers that we need to manage, we need to manage them when they’re active, not when they suddenly become revisionist. And on the other hand, reticent rising powers like India often don’t meet expectations, so because they have narratives that are not about becoming like the great power of the day, they have much more limited engagement with the international order and they can end up frustrating their allies and partners. And so in the book I essentially look at these six cases, right, so I look at three cases of active rising powers and three cases of reticent rising powers, and what I find is that across time and across culture and across regime type, you had these very particular kinds of beliefs about becoming a great power that the United States had, Meiji Japan had, 1990s China had, but then when you look at the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century or you look at Cold War Japan or you look at India in the 1990s, all periods for these countries, when they had some amount of military and economic power and the opportunity to take advantage of them, they didn’t have these narratives; they had very different kinds of narratives. And the way they behaved was significantly different from how these active rising powers behave. And so that’s really the basis of the book, is these six cases and the idea that we need to stop talking about rising powers as this one category of actors. And I’ll leave you with just one note. So, one of the things that we often talk about as rising powers is BRICS, right, so Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and people rarely realize that BRICS was something that was just made up; it was made up in 2005 by an analyst at Goldman Sachs who clumped these countries together based on the fact that they were emerging-markets economies, but then if you look at what each of these countries have or don’t have, the picture is much more muddied. I mean, Brazil does not have nuclear weapons. Can you be a rising power without nuclear weapons? Can you become a great power without nuclear weapons? Russia—you know, especially with the Ukraine crisis—are we really thinking of Russia as an emerging country or is it a declining country, right? South Africa is a country that in the past has seen its life expectancy drop. Is that a rising power? So we use the term very loosely and we clump countries together and we need to understand that there’s variation in between. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. That was a great overview. And let’s turn to all of you now for your questions and comments. You know how to do this. (Gives queuing instructions.) So we already have a couple written questions and I’m going to see—first hand, raised hand is from Ahmya Cheatham. Q: Yes. First and foremost I would just like to say that thank you so much for introducing this panel. I am an international studies major with an emphasis on foreign language, and I just really wanted to emphasize on the key point that you pointed out between the different kinds of powers and there isn’t much taught historically, at least throughout the Western world or the United States where I’m from, about what you called reticent powers, which are people who—they had the military prowess or they had the opportunity to move in a more imperialist kind of way for power but didn’t necessarily choose so. So I wanted to ask, why do you think those type of high powers aren’t as recognized or taught about in Western culture? FASKIANOS: And Ahmya, what university are you with, college or university? Q: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you. MILLER: I have a fondness for Wisconsin. My husband’s from Madison, Wisconsin, so go Badgers. Yeah, so I’m heading—that’s a great question. So your question is, why is it that the Western world has not recognized these categories of rising powers and I think it has as a lot to do with—well, first of all, in international relations theory in general—I mean, this is changing, but in the past, essentially, theorists focused on countries that had enough military or economic power to matter and what mattered was set by the West, right? So that’s, obviously, one way in which you are clearly narrowing down right away which countries matter and which countries don’t and that excluded a lot of Asia and Africa. But I think there’s another way it matters which is that, if you look at the literature in rising powers, in academic theory—and as somebody in policy, I will say that IR theory is really important because it helps you understand policy better, OK, so do not dismiss it. But in academic theory, in IR theory, there’s an entire body of work that’s called power transition theory, OK, and power transition theory is about essentially—well, it’s kind of set our expectations about why we fear rising powers. So what does power transition theory say? It says that there is a cycle in world politics, there’s a recurring cycle, so you have a great power who’s the status quo power, and then eventually there is always a challenger, and that challenger is a challenger because this country is dissatisfied with how goods are distributed in the international system, right, and because they’re dissatisfied, they eventually challenge the status quo power for control of the international system so they can access those goods. Now, you see here—so when they challenge the status quo—how a war occurs, and so therefore you have this recurring cycle of conflict. And so that’s why rising powers are considered such an important category in international relations because they have the power to affect war and peace. But then there’s the other part of it, which is—and this is where my work comes in because when you are talking about a challenger’s dissatisfaction with the distribution of goods, you’re not really talking about how goods are actually distributed, right? You’re really talking about their belief about how goods are distributed. And so, narratives, which come very strongly from what a country believes or does not believe about its role, then derives from those beliefs. If you ignore their perception, then you’re ignoring a fundamental characteristic that should be intrinsic to rising powers, but we don’t look at that. But power transition theory kind of has set our bar for how and why we think of rising powers, which is that they’re always challengers, they always have military and economic power that matters, and they’re always going to challenge the status quo. And I think everything else in rising powers has flown from power transition theory. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Terron Adlam has a raised hand, also wrote the question, but why don’t you just ask it yourself and give your affiliation? Q: Hi there. My name is Terron Adlam. I’m from Delaware State University. My question is, knowing how the olden times old powers are based on military and economic, knowing today’s global society, do you think we have a new definition of global powers? MILLER: OK, so I think you actually have a two-part question here, right, so one part is, is the military and economic power the only thing that matters, and the second part is, do societal factors matter? So let me take the first one. So military and economic power do always matter, OK? I emphasize the importance of ideas and narratives in my book but I would in no way say that military and economic power does not matter for a country to become a great power. That would be nonsensical, right? What I’m saying is it is necessary but it’s not sufficient, and that’s where this book comes in because it helps you plug the gap and say, well, what else do you need, because clearly military and economic power, by themselves, cannot propel a country towards rising-power status. So that’s the first part of it. The second part of it is about societal—what matters societally? And I think this is really interesting because this gets to the heart of how we think about great powers, and how we think about great powers is very different depending on the era that we’re in, right? So what matters societally is different depending on the era that we are in. So let’s look at the late nineteenth world. So the late nineteenth century world—what did it mean if you were going to be this great power and this great country? What did it mean if you wanted to become like that? And what it really meant was owning colonies. It meant not just being a great power but being a colonial great power. So in order to be a great power and to be like, let’s say, Great Britain, you actually had to own colonies; you had to have sway over the lives and deaths of millions of citizens who you did not accept as equal citizens of your empire, right? That’s what it meant to be a great power. So when you went out and gained territory, you weren’t just gaining territory, you were gaining territory specifically for the purpose of what economists have called extractive colonialism, where you’re extracting resources from the territory and then sending them back to the mother country. So when you look at the United States and Meiji Japan rise in this time, they engage in expansionism. That we know, right? But what’s really interesting is that it’s a very particular kind of expansionism. It’s colonial expansionism. So all of the narratives that exist in Meiji Japan and in the United States, they’re different in subtle ways, but in many ways they’re similar, that they recognize that the path to great power is through colonies. So the question the United States has, well, should we acquire colonies, should we become a great power and acquire colonial great power? That’s what they debate because the notion of great power is dependent on colonies. Now, if you fast forward to the 1990s, that’s not what great power is anymore. I mean, nobody would—no country—even Russia does not say that we are out to colonize and this is our colony and it’s perfectly OK to do that. That is not what being a great power means. Being a great power means controlling, directing, and shaping the process of globalization, particularly through international institutions. So the narratives of great power in the 1990s in India and China are not about becoming colonial great powers. So it’s not about saying we’re going to go out and acquire colonies, we’re going to be like Meiji Japan and show how we’re administering the colonies in really benevolent, beautiful ways, and how we’re extracting resources efficiently. That would not be OK. That would not be socially acceptable. What they say is we’re going to enter international institutions—particularly China says this, is that the path to great power lies through international institutions. And you can kind of, even in the 1990s, see the seeds of BRI in this, because that it is what BRI is; it’s really about using institutions and the rules that were laid down after World War II by the United States and the liberal international order to see how China could actually end up controlling and impacting and eventually shaping those rules. So that’s what great power is. So it is absolutely societal, because how we think of great power changes depending on the era that we’re in. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who is the chair of the political science department and professor at Xavier University of Louisiana: Is there a perception among states of internal global efficacy versus external global political efficacy, where internal efficacy reflects how India, for example, perceives itself versus how the globe was perceived to view the state’s rise, and in this case example of China? MILLER: I’m sorry, Irina. I’m not sure I follow that question. Does she define political efficacy? FASKIANOS: She did not. But Pamela, do you want to unmute and give your definition? There we go. Pamela, great. You just have to unmute yourself. There we go. Q: OK. Yes. What I was referring to is the fact that internal efficacy is usually how you perceive yourself as a state and your rise, your power, your movement, versus the external efficacy where you understand who you are by the perceptions externally of others. So if the world sees you as a rising state, they will promote you and you start to think of yourself, perhaps in the case of India, as oh, yes, we are rising because we’ve done all these—we’ve established all of these links, these blocs. But if you are simply looking at yourself and saying, well, we’re not, we don’t have military might, we don’t have X, Y, and Z, therefore we cannot see ourselves as efficacious, we can’t call ourselves a rising state. So it’s a question about perception. Is the perception of China, where everybody thinks, OK, you’re moving fast and you’re promoting yourself, different from the perception of India which, in the context of Asia and the Commonwealth and so forth, still see themselves as lesser than a rising state. I hope that is a little clearer. MILLER: Yes. It is. So that’s actually really interesting because—I mean, there’s certainly a difference, but here’s the thing is that China’s what you call internal efficacy aligns with external efficacy, so in that both China and external perceptions, China’s external perceptions of China are aligned in the 1990s about China as a rising power, right? There’s no dichotomy there. In India there’s a dichotomy. So there’s also external perceptions of India as a rising power, as evidenced by news media or reference or—I look at, like, different kinds of newspapers that refer to these countries. But the internal efficacy doesn’t keep pace with the external efficacy. Now, actually—and I haven’t heard that term before so thank you for bringing it to my attention; that’s a really interesting way to put it—the question is why. I think the question is why is it that in China it’s different and in India it’s different? And this—and I think that, to be honest, like, there could be a whole volume on this, which is this question of where do narratives come from, and why is it that some countries develop this narrative, this internal perception of themselves that is concurrent with the external perception of themselves, but other countries don’t? And you know—so when I was looking at—so, I mean, this book—six cases and huge and so I wasn’t going to look at narratives as—and you’re a political science professor so I’m just going to say it as a dependent variable; there was not the dependent variable. It was not what I was examining. I was examining it more as a cause. But if you did—I mean, I talk about this in the conclusion. It was interesting how many people had different ideas about where these narratives come from and why they were different in China and India. I mean, Indians and Chinese had different perceptions of this as well. Some of it was really institutional, about how the institutions were constructed and which institutions mattered when it came to foreign policy, and so therefore, Chinese institutions were set up in a way to be more diffused to these narratives, whereas Indian institutions were not. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to the raised hand, Teresita Schaffer. Q: Thank you. And thank you for this really interesting introduction to your work. I am retired Foreign Service and I teach at Georgetown, of course on diplomacy. I spent much of my Foreign Service career working on India so that’s where my examples come from. But you have a situation where India at independence saw itself as, to use the vernacular, punching above its actual weight, and it conducted its diplomacy, to a large extent, on that basis. It built up its military for the needs that it perceived already. And it was the economy which was the most out of step with this impending great-power status, and not until the Indian economy started growing fast did you see people in the so-called chattering classes talking about India as coming close to realizing the greatness of its five-thousand-year-old civilization. Do other countries that you studied display similar disconnects between the different elements of the things that make you more readily seen as a great power, or is the disconnect itself something that matters to this transition? MILLER: So, first of all, Ambassador, thank you for attending the talk. I’m honored. So let me restate your question. So you’re asking, is it about civilizational greatness, that India had this perception that it needed to punch above its weight after independence and so that’s why it began investing in its military and, eventually, of course, it did economic reforms. And so are you asking whether this notion of civilizational greatness is necessary? Could you clarify? Q: Not really, because—(inaudible, technical difficulties)—I’m asking whether it matters to your idea of rising powers but whether the different elements of—(inaudible, technical difficulties)—with one another or not. FASKIANOS: I don’t know if that was just for me that was garbled. For some reason, your audio is now on the fritz, so we did not hear that at all. It was a bit garbled. Q: I could try again, briefly. FASKIANOS: There we go. Perfect. Go ahead. MILLER: And if it gets garbled again, perhaps you could put it in the chat because it sounded like a really interesting question. Q: There were reasons why India pushed the civilizational narrative. It fit in so beautifully with the way Nehru thought, and he was the foreign policy. But the economic and the military elements that you agreed were necessary elements were out of sync. The military element had to get built up earlier, largely because India’s independent years started with a war. The economic was always viewed as a liability, until the point where India’s economy started growing a whole lot faster in the 1990s. Question: Does the fact that the different elements are out of sync, does that figure in the way you think about the different kinds of rising powers? MILLER: Yes, it does because—and I’ll tell you why. So—and I’m going to be—I’m going to state this very carefully. So in India’s case—so there are a couple of different elements in what you’re saying. So India has this idea of civilizational greatness even in the 1990s, so it’s not that the idea of civilizational greatness went away, right? I mean, you see that even today in Prime Minister Modi’s speeches or his talk with his harkening back to—I mean, of course, he talks about it as a Hindu civilization, but in the 1990s that wasn’t what the talk was, although it was coming up. It was still about India as just a great civilization with secular nationalism being the predominant idea. So it wasn’t about civilizational greatness. That never went away. This was about India’s status changing, so it was specifically about being a rising power, which is that a country that is changing its status, not one that has always been a great power and has civilizational greatness to hark back upon, but rather its status was changing vis-a-vis the great power of the day, which is the United States. So that consciousness existed in China because China also had ideas of civilizational greatness but that wasn’t the only thing that China was talking about in the 1990s. It was really talking about well, how do we take this—we are becoming a rising power and we are rising in the international system, our military and economic power is changing vis-a-vis other countries, particularly the status quo power; how, then, do we respond to that? And that response was lacking in India, although the notion of civilizational greatness did not go away. And the question I think you’re particularly asking is what happens if you have narratives about being great, and you don’t have the military power and you don’t have the economic power? And that is a really interesting case because there was one case that historians told me about and I nod to it in my conclusion, and I don’t explore it so I definitely do not want to go into it, and state with authority that this is the case. But Weimar Germany—I learned from a lot of historians that Weimar Germany was a country that lacked the military and economic power but had these narratives, that—of changing status, had these narratives that it was going to become great again. And because it did, these narratives actually propelled a lot of military and economic reforms that may not have otherwise resulted, and I’m saying that very carefully because I nod to this in my conclusion, but that is my understanding of the literature that I’ve read. So if that is true, if that is true that you can have narratives of great power but not have the military and economic power to back that up, do the narratives then propel you to aggressively acquire that military and economic power? And I think that’s a really interesting and open question about whether that’s the case. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Natalie Holley, who is an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. How has social media shaped these two categories of rising powers? What have been the advantages and consequences of social media use as countries construct their narratives? MILLER: Wow. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: Good question. MILLER: That’s a really—yeah, that’s a really hard question to answer. So I will say that in the 1990s—I’m old enough to remember—there was no social media. (Laughs.) It did not exist in the 1990s so it certainly did not affect the narratives then. Would it affect the narratives now? So this is actually a bigger question and it’s interesting because we talk about information and disinformation a lot, but to my knowledge, and this is—I actually have colleagues at Boston University who are working on this. The question is, to what extent does that disinformation then result in behavior. It’s one thing to have disinformation and fake news, and we know that that exists in abundant ways. But then to actually show the link that when you get that disinformation, that in turn leads to a behavioral change among people who consume it, as opposed to just talking about it, that has not—that link has not been clearly shown yet, and people are working on it. So the colleague whom I was referencing is actually in the computer science department at Boston University and that’s part of his research—does that change behavior? So that’s the question you’re asking is if you have social media and you see these narratives reflected and re-reflected in social media, does that then change behavior? And that’s a—in some ways that’s a chicken and egg situation. So let’s take the narratives of Hindu nationalism that exist today in India or wolf warrior diplomacy that exists in China. Is that amplified on social media by Indian officials and Chinese officials? Absolutely. Hugely. And then it’s picked up. So does that then intensify and then lead to behavioral change in what the government does? That’s not always so clear, right? Even when it comes to wolf warrior diplomacy, I think it’s Huang at Seton Hall University, I think, has a book that’s going to come out soon which is really interesting because it shows how a lot of this is about, when Chinese officials talk about wolf warrior diplomacy or take these narratives up, it’s not so much about changing China’s behavior as posturing to the Chinese leadership that that is what you’re doing. It’s posturing to the Chinese leadership and saying we are doing what Xi Jinping wants us to do and we’re reflecting all of these narratives. Does that then lead to a behavioral shift? That’s not as clear. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We have several questions in the chat. Let’s go to Maya Chadda with the raised hand. You need to unmute yourself, Maya. There we go. Q: OK, I just want to say it was wonderful introduction, very thought-provoking. A number of questions that Ambassador Schaffer—asked one of the—the key question I wanted to ask. The only thing I wanted to sort of comment/question on that I’d like to hear from you about is this gap we talked about, the gap between self-perception of the country, China or India, and its material basis, what it has achieved in terms of economic and political stability. There is an intervening factor there and that goes back to their historical experience in terms of the immediate issues, so while India and China were at a similar stage and saw themselves as victims of colonialism, they processed under colonialism very differently. In case of China, the Opium Wars, the unequal treaties, the Japanese invasion, everything that the civil war, rise of—it was a very, totally different experience of the country, which I think acts as an intervening factor. It sort of explains just how it sees itself as a great civilization and what it must do. You mentioned—you sort of remarked that China is much more pragmatic, India is much more ideological in building images—pragmatic in the sense what it should do internally in order to get there, to become a great power, while India sort of talks a lot and there is a greater gap between material power and image. So the question is this: Doesn’t India’s historical experience of independence, the perceptions, the narratives, as you call it, it built—I like to call it stories about themselves—they build. And China—doesn’t that explain to a large extent the way in which they process the world today? MILLER: OK, so first of all, I did not say that China was pragmatic and India was ideological. I want to be crystal clear about that. I said that China had narratives and India did not. The deduction from that is not that China is pragmatic about it. It has these narratives about becoming a great power, or it did in the 1990s. Is it about—did they have very different experiences of colonialism? Yes and no. So they do have very different experiences of colonialism. India had two hundred years of extractive colonialism under the British Empire, so the Raj, and China had what’s been called piecemeal colonialism. So you had the colonial—the Opium Wars but then you had the colonialism by Japan. And so what was interesting to me in my first book was that both the countries treated colonialism the same way. So they responded to colonialism as historical trauma, and they teach it as historical trauma. So in China it is taught as one hundred years of national humiliation. And then you have two hundred years of British colonialism, and this is really important to remember. And even though, in China’s case, not only is—does China say that it was colonized for a hundred years, but China accepts the Qing, for example, which is not a Han dynasty, it’s a Manchu dynasty, not as colonizers, as some historians have dubbed them, but as Chinese. So you have those contradictions. So the point is that they treat it the same way. They perceive colonialism the same way. Now, the reason this is—and this is particularly also evocative because I remember when I was doing the research for my first book, I came across these diplomatic negotiations between Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, which were the last negotiations in 1960 before the border war of 1962, and there’s this really interesting conversation—these are like verbatim negotiations, transcripts of these negotiations, and what’s really interesting in them is that there’s this squabble between the Indian and Chinese delegates about who has been colonized more. So, Zhou Enlai says, no, no, you don’t understand, we’ve been colonized, and I think it was Morarji Desai says, no, no, not as much as us; we have been colonized more. And so this idea of who’s been colonized more in factual life doesn’t matter so much as how they treat them. So no, I don’t think that the absence or presence of narratives has to do with piecemeal colonialism in China and two hundred years of solidified colonial rule in India. What I do think it may have to do with is with institutions and I can—I mean, I want to be mindful of time, but I can talk a little bit about this very briefly. So it’s really interesting because in India, what you find is in the foreign policy decision-making establishment, as you see ideas percolate in the establishment, that establishment is very, very—what’s the word I’m trying to use?—it’s very strong bulwark against ideas from outside. So there’s a resistance to ideas from outside. So think tanks, for example, don’t operate in the same way in India as they did in China in the 1990s and early 2000s. Everything is a little bit different now, now that Xi Jinping has taken over and the censorship and the authoritarianism have increased. But in the 1990s and early 2000s, in China you did not have independent opinions but you had a lot of autonomy among these think tanks. You had a lot of ideas that used to come up, ground up and affect how foreign policy officials thought about issues, and so it was really interesting because you’d see a back and forth in China between government and university think tanks and senior foreign policy officials that simply did not exist in India. And it exists in the U.S. today and it’s somewhat—somewhat; I’m saying this very carefully—somewhat exists in China today because there’s just so much more censorship. But let’s say you had something like, Xi Jinping coming to the United States and saying, OK, we’re going to talk about a new type of great-power relations. Well, before his visit, think tanks would be asked to convene a conference on new type of great-power relations and they would sit around and talk about what that meant, what it could mean, how could it be framed, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would come and they would sit and attend these conferences. They wouldn't say a word, they would just take notes. Now, how those ideas actually made their way up to President Xi and then impacted his speeches or his foreign policy initiatives, I can’t tell you. Nobody can. I mean, if I did, I’d be a billionaire. I wouldn’t—(laughs)—be sitting here. But the fact is that there was that give and take. That give and take does not exist in India—did not exist in India and does not exist in India even today. So that kind of diffusion of ideas is different. Now, I’m not saying that that’s exactly why those narratives exist in China and that’s why they did not exist in India, but it gives you an idea of how institutions are very different, right, and institutions do matter when it comes to percolating ideas up and institutions do matter when it comes to impacting and institutionalizing and ensuring that narratives continue. So that could be a difference. So no, I don’t think it’s a difference in colonialism, and yes, I do think it can be an institutional difference. FASKIANOS: Great. So Kazi Sazid has written a question but also has a raised hand, so why don’t you just ask it and if you could limit it to one question, that would be great. That way I don’t have to choose when you get to more questions. Q: OK, so I’ll say my first question is—I’m a student at Hunter College. So my question is, the Cold War demonstrated the dangers of two military hegemonic powers establishing a duopoly over global politics, which is the U.S. and the Soviet Union. How does the rise of India and China and let’s add Nigeria as rising regional and global powers be seen as a positive thing to help balance the power structure by not allowing a single or two countries to completely control the global political rhetoric? Sorry if that’s a loaded question. MILLER: That is a loaded question. (Laughs.) That’s a very loaded question. I am not in the business of assigning value judgments to, just a country is a rising power per se. I will tell you that if you take India’s perspective, India sees a multipolar world as better than a bipolar world. And so when it comes, even today, to the United States and Russia and China, what India wants is multipolarity. It does not want this bipolarity like the Cold War where it’s forced to choose between one or the other. And of course it didn’t; it was non-aligned. So are rising powers a positive or negative thing? So that depends really on who you read. If you look at power transition theorists, they would say no because a rising a power is always a challenger; it inevitably leads to war. Now, what I show in my book is that of course you don’t always have challenging rising powers; you have different kinds of rising powers. So the question is—the question that you’re really asking is that is revisionism a bad thing? It can be, right? I mean, World War II was an indication that revisionism was a bad thing. And so if you talk to China today and the Chinese, even they would say that revisionism is a bad thing and they would say that we’re not trying to revise the international system, we’re playing by the rules. And when the United States talks about a rule-based order, Chinese officials would say, but wait, we were sticking by the rules-based order and you changed the rules on us. That would be their take. So revisionism is a very, very loaded word, and so traditionally, yes, rising powers have been seen as challengers, but as I show, not all rising powers are the same. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Brian Chao who’s at the U.S. Naval War College. What are the differences, if any, in narratives and behaviors between rising powers that simply see themselves as returning to their rightful place among the great powers—example, China—a status they perhaps feel they never should have lost, and second, rising powers that may not have histories to draw upon and for whom great-power status is really something unprecedented? MILLER: I don’t think rising powers see themselves as returning to their rightful place. China does, but that’s not how Meiji Japan thought of itself. It wasn’t about reattaining civilizational greatness. It was really about becoming a great power, and in Meiji Japan it was very much about becoming a great power like the Western great powers. That is what the narratives were. They were about becoming a colonial great power and showing the Western powers that Japan could administer its colonies just as efficiently, just as extractively, and just as well as them, and so Meiji Japan was very careful to abide by the laws and rules of the international order, and the narratives were not at all about civilizational greatness. And so—and again, the example here, again, is of India, which does have narratives about civilizational greatness but didn’t have narratives about becoming—or didn’t have narratives about rising-power status. So the two are not always the same. There’s a subtle difference between them. But just because China also happens to have civilizational greatness narratives alongside its rising-power-status narratives doesn’t mean that the two can be conflated. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Isis Roopnarine from Howard University. How do you feel the global push toward environmental sustainability will affect current world powers and rising powers? Do you feel this will heavily impact India’s ability to rise, or do you feel world powers like China may be limited heavily by carbon taxes, regulations, and maybe start to decline? MILLER: I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m just going to totally punt on that because that—that’s about environmental sustainability and whether that has long-term economic effects on countries. I assume it does, but a lot of it will depend on how much the—how countries buy into it. So I’m going to punt on that question. FASKIANOS: So we’ll have to do a call or a webinar specifically focused on environmental concerns. MILLER: Which is a really important one, by the way, and we should. FASKIANOS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I am surprised to see that nobody’s asked—so I’m going to take the moderator prerogative just to ask you to talk a little bit about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and vis-a-vis China and India and their response and how you feel that they are playing and thinking about their narrative, vis-a-vis their response to that conflict? MILLER: Yeah, so on the surface of it, it seems similar because they’re both trying not to take a position and they’re being careful about it, but it’s also very—it’s also different. So in India’s case, India is really worried about the Ukraine crisis because India worries that it has this historical relationship with Russia and if it is publicly seen to condemn Russia with whom it has historical relationship, with whom it has had a very long defense relationship, with almost 70 percent of its military hardware today being Russian, it will drive Russia into the arms of China, which is India’s number one enemy, so it is very clear about who its number one enemy is and it is China, and so India definitely does not want to publicly take a position that would essentially push Russia closer to China. At the same time, India also wants a multipolar world so it wants Russia and China and—well, particularly Russia—to be a factor in countering the rise of China and in balancing China and the United States. At the same time, India has a very deep strategic partnership with the United States and the relationship with the United States is not the same as it was twenty years ago so India also is very careful that it does not want to push the United States away from it, because this relationship has now broadened to include many, many sectors. So that’s where you see India’s position, where it’s playing a very careful game; it hasn’t come out and condemned Russia, but, at the same time, it has talked about—it’s talked about humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, it has talked about the importance of there being a cease to the violence in Ukraine without actually coming out and taking a strong position on its side. Now, in China’s case, it’s gone back and forth. It’s very interesting because—particularly I was struck by Ambassador Qin Gang’s op-ed in the Washington Post recently, which kind of laid out China’s clearly approved position on Russia. And so, in the West we think that—we’ve particularly seen these newspaper reports of China perhaps helping Russia, perhaps giving military supplies, will it help Russia evade sanctions, but what was really interesting to me in Ambassador Qin Gang’s op-ed was the dilemma that it posed in those pages, and I’ll tell you what I mean. So China in that op-ed, Ambassador Qin clearly says Ukraine is a sovereign state. Now that statement I have not seen from any Indian official. I have not actually seen any Indian official say Ukraine is a sovereign state. I have not seen that statement. It was there in Ambassador Qin’s statement that Ukraine is a sovereign state. Then he said—and China does not support violation of sovereignty. And then he said, Ukraine is not like Taiwan because Taiwan is an internal affair, which means that Ukraine is not an internal affair, which is what Russia has been saying. So you kind of see this dilemma here that China poses where China has a relationship with Europe; China—(laughs)—a great relationship with Ukraine, right, and so what it sees is Russia jeopardizing all of that, and yet it cannot come out and condemn Russia very strongly either because it has this, the rapprochement that’s been happening with Russia, and of course, the statement that President Putin and Xi Jinping laid out. So you see the countries with dilemmas in both respects, and even though the surface they look the same, the dilemmas are different. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to raise Ray Bromley’s question, the University of Albany at SUNY: Would it be fair to say that India’s reticence is based on a strong South Asian and British Commonwealth focus and an obsession with Pakistan? In other words, the Indian news media and educational system don’t give enough attention to the world as a whole and to global issues; it focuses on reporting and discussing relations with Pakistan, so if you could comment on that. MILLER: Yes, and I have one quote that I’m going to give you that a very senior Indian Foreign Service official once said to me, which I think is exactly emblematic of India’s relationship. This person said Pakistan is just an enemy; China is the adversary. And the reason—this is really important—is because India is not obsessed with Pakistan. India’s obsessed with China, like really obsessed with China. And so India’s focus is all about China. I mean, there’s a huge power imbalance now with Pakistan, even with Pakistan with nukes. So what India’s most worried about is a two-front war. If you have a war with Pakistan on the border and then a war with China on the border, and so what India would like is to do something that would forestall that, and that’s really important. And so for India the focus is very much on China, and if you think that India’s focus is on China, as a rising power that’s going to become a great power, you would think that then the narratives would follow from that about India’s status and how to manage China and India’s own changing status, but they don’t. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the last question from Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. Q: Thank you very much. I’m just wondering about how you rank these two rising powers. So which one has the most capabilities in terms of the military and economic power? And then, the tendency to be reticent and to swagger and be confidently stating that you are a rising power and you are challenging the hegemon—can this be attributed to cultural differences in terms of how one is supposed to move around in the world? OK, so where I come from it’s like if your hand is not on the hilt of the sword, you don’t challenge the people who killed your father. So if you’re not really, really sure that you’re going to win, you shouldn’t start swaggering all over the place. So is that sort of influencing the dynamics of what’s going on? MILLER: I have not heard that quote before. That’s such an interesting proverb. Thank you for sharing that. So I would say no—(laughs)—because the narrative’s about rising-power status and not about challenging international order. I think that’s the point that I make very clearly in the book, which is that active rising powers, which are the countries that do have these narratives about rising-power status are countries that are essentially talking about how they will become a great power just like the great power that exists then. So far from being challenging, these are accommodational narratives. Now, that does not mean that these countries will not challenge later, but that’s not what the narratives are, so it’s hard to then argue that they stem from military and economic power. But also what’s interesting is that particularly to forestall this, I looked at India and China in the 1990s, which is a time when their military and economic power are very comparable, which is really not the case today. Now, if I were to say, can you compare them militarily? No, you cannot; you cannot them militarily or economically. But you could in the 1990s. And so if it were true that these narratives derive from the sword, as you put it, then they should have derived in both cases, and they didn’t. You had narratives, the presence of narratives in China but the absence of these narratives in India. And I should be very clear: It’s not that India doesn’t have foreign policy narratives. There’s plenty of narratives on foreign policy. It was really these ideas about becoming a great power, about being a rising power, about responding to this changing status and these expectations that the globe seemed to have of both countries at the time. FASKIANOS: We are almost at the end of time and I just wonder, having looked back as you’ve done this research, do you want to project—or you may not want to do this—of where you see China and India’s power spheres developing over the next decade? MILLER: (Laughs.) Wow. I don’t want to project. I will say—I will say this: I think in China’s case what happens domestically will be really important. I think domestic politics is something—I think there are two things about China that we tend to ignore in the United States. I think one is we tend to ignore the domestic politics of the Chinese Communist Party, which I think is crucially important for how China’s power’s going to play out in the next few decades. The other thing that we tend to ignore is we tend to ignore the fact that even in China, even with censorship, even with Xi Jinping being the most powerful Chinese president since Mao Zedong, you have a plethora of different interests and ideas in China and that doesn’t make its way out of China. We tend to think of China as like this one single actor and it’s not one single actor. There are different interests, there are different competing interests, there are different competing narratives, there are different competing ideas, and how all of those play out I think will be very, very important. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. With that, Manjari Miller, thank you very much for being with us. We really appreciate it. And I apologize for not getting to everybody’s questions and comments but we had a very rich discussion and we’ll have to have you back. We have put a link to Dr. Miller’s book in the chat. We will be sending out the audio, video, and transcript link after the fact, but I do commend her book to all of you. And our last Academic Webinar of the semester will be on Wednesday, April 13, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Anne Richard, who is a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, will talk about refugees and global migration. Very timely given the flows we are seeing from Ukraine as that war is happening. So I hope you all will join us for that. In the meantime, please follow us at @ CFR_academic. Visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all again. Thank you, Manjari. MILLER: Thank you so much, Irina. This was really fun. Really great questions, very stimulating discussion. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Have a great day, everybody. (END)

Climate Change

Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox professor of law and director of the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard University, leads the conversation on global climate policy. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Winter/Spring 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Jody Freeman with us to talk about global climate policy. Professor Freeman is the Archibald Cox professor of law, founding director of the Environmental and Energy Law Program, and a leading scholar of administrative and environmental law at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2010, Professor Freeman served as counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama administration. She is a fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of CFR. She also serves as an independent director on the board of ConocoPhillips, which is an oil and gas producer. Professor Freeman has been recognized as the second most-cited scholar in public law in the nation and has written extensively on climate change, environmental regulation, and executive power. So, Professor Freeman, thanks very much for being with us today. We just saw the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, Sixth Assessment Report, that was quite pessimistic about the outlook on the future. Can you talk a little bit about that report and connect it to what we are going to see the effects on climate policy and what we need to be doing to really remediate what’s happening in the world? FREEMAN: Well, thank you very much for having me. It couldn’t be a more important or interesting moment to be having this conversation, and mostly I look forward to you, students, posing some questions and us having some back and forth. So, Irina, I will be as brief as I can in trying to really encapsulate what’s going on now to set the stage for the discussion that I hope we will have. First, as you noted, the IPCC, which of course is the UN-established organization that since 1988 has put out periodic assessments of the science of climate change and their consensus-based assessments written by about six—about two hundred scientists from about sixty countries, so to give you a sense of the authority of the documents they’ve put out. This assessment was quite bleak, and really—I can read a couple of the top line conclusions to you, but the essential message is that climate change is accelerating. It has already been wreaking havoc and doing significant damage to human health, environment, and ecosystems. It is already causing and will cause increasingly devastating wildfires, historic droughts, landslides, floods, and more intense hurricanes. The long list of things that you all are witnessing around the world—think of the Australian fires, the California fires, the historic flooding we’ve seen here in the United States. The report basically says this will get worse if we continue without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions soon, beginning immediately, and cutting them quite drastically. There are many conclusions here about the need to accelerate the pace of our efforts, the need for the governments of the world to do more than they have pledged to do under the Paris Agreement, which we can talk about, which is the international climate agreement that the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries have pledged, have made commitments to. And the U.S. has renewed its commitment to the Paris Agreement under the Biden administration saying that it will achieve 50 to 52 percent of emissions reductions here in the United States below 2005-levels by 2030. So a very significant upping of the U.S. commitment recently at the Conference of the Parties last year in Glasgow, Scotland. That agreement is the prevailing international agreement, but this report says it’s not enough. Even if the countries of the world were to meet their pledges—and that’s an open question—what the report essentially says is we need to do more, and so there’s a consensus on the science. I don’t think there can be reasonable disagreement about the science of climate change at this point. There is significant evidence that it is already happening, already changing the world’s—the patterns that we have seen in, again, weather patterns, storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and it is already threatening communities. The question now is, how do we close this gap between what the report—what the IPCC report is telling us is happening, the risks that the report is warning us about—how do we close the gap between that and what the governments of the world have agreed to do under the Paris Agreement? And I want to note just two other contextual developments here that make this problem even more challenging. One is what I think you’re all very conscious of now, as we all think about daily, the war in Ukraine, and the fact that that is scrambling in the geopolitics of energy. Russia, as one of the world’s top three suppliers of oil and gas, produces about 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas, and now there are sanctions that the U.S. has imposed, and that other countries have announced they will gradually phase in, against Russian oil and gas supplies. The price of gas, as you may all have noticed the United States, is sky high. That’s not just because of the war in Ukraine, but it hasn’t helped. And attention has moved to what this war means not just for the devastating human consequences, but also what is it doing to the—how to encapsulate this—to the power relationships among the world’s nations that are anchored in oil and gas, and how is it shifting the relative power of the oil-producing countries vis-à-vis each other. That conversation about how we’re going to produce enough oil and gas to meet Europe’s needs in the absence of or in the presence of sanctions against Russia, where are we going to get the extra supply from? In some sense, that conversation about the short-term need for what is admittedly fossil energy has edged out, has moved out of the main frame of the climate policy discussion temporarily. And the concern among communities, institutions, organizations, people who care deeply about climate change at the moment is, that edging to the side of the climate discussion is the wrong direction to go, is an unhelpful event. And especially in the United States where we now are looking at the dynamics in Congress to see if major climate investments will be part of a legislative package that the Biden administration has been advancing— the Build Back Better package—as the discussion is focused on Ukraine, the short-term need for oil and gas, who will produce and meet the extra demand, that conversation, the worry is it’s not helping climate policy move forward in the United States. And as you all know, the Build Back Better bill has essentially been shelved, and there are ongoing discussions about which pieces of it might move forward. As time passes and we get to the United States’ midterm elections, which are upon us very soon in the fall, the question is, will anything significant in terms of additional climate investments and climate policy come from the United States Congress? Or are they essentially done with the pieces they put into the big infrastructure bill that, as you know, was passed this past fall? The bipartisan infrastructure bill contained significant investments in things like electric vehicle infrastructure, grid investments, and other things that are beneficial for our climate policy. But as you all know, this is not nearly enough, and nothing regulatory went into the Infrastructure Act, and just to be clear about that, there was nothing in the bill that passed Congress in November that operated—that went through a process called budget reconciliation. This really was passed as a budgeting mechanism. Nothing in there regulates industry greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s because regulation can’t go in a budget bill. And what this means is, in the United States we are challenged now to put in place the policies necessary for us to meet our commitment to Paris, and the main vehicle left right now, if Congress remains fairly inactive, is using existing law like the Clean Air Act by which the Obama—listen to me, the Obama administration. I’m remembering my time in the Obama—the Biden administration can use existing law to regulate sector by sector by sector the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the power sector, that come from the transportation sector, that come from the oil and gas sector. That’s what the Biden administration is right now doing. They’re issuing regulations through agencies like the EPA to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy on a sectoral and piecemeal basis. And what this all means is that a war is raging in the Ukraine that is refocusing attention on the need for short-term fossil fuels, while a longer-term discussion is happening about how to wean the world off fossil energy, and this dynamic is a very challenging, complicated dynamic in which to have both of those conversations simultaneously. The only thing I’d mention, before now turning to your questions, in addition, is that there is no small irony in the fact that this report that Irina cited, the new installment of the IPCC scientific assessment was issued essentially the day before the Supreme Court of the United States heard argument in a really important climate case in which what’s at stake is the EPA—the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to set far-reaching standards to reduce our emissions from the power sector. And by all indications, the Supreme Court is poised to restrict the EPA’s ability to set standards that would really force quite forward-leaning change, quite aggressive, ambitious change—speedier, deeper reductions from the electric power sector. It looks like the Court may well constrain the agency, and I can talk more about that for those who are legal eagles and want to know more. But the fact that that argument was heard the day after this report as sort of the juxtaposition of those two things was quite striking. So let me leave it there with these sort of broad observations about what’s happening and turn to you all and see if we can dive deeper into some of these dynamics. FASKIANOS: Thanks a lot for that overview. You can all either raise your hand to ask your question, or you can write it in the Q&A box. So I'm going to first go to Babak Salimitari. Q: I had a question regarding the Paris climate accord. This is a non-binding agreement in which it seems like the United States is the only country going above and beyond to limit emissions and pollution and whatnot, but we’re also the ones suffering the most. You have, like Germany building coal plants. China and India are extremely dirty, filthy countries, to put it bluntly. They admit they destroy environmental places, not just in their own country, but all over the world. But we’re the one paying six bucks for gas. Oil is like a hundred dollars a barrel. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: Things are getting very expensive and very annoying. So what’s the point of this agreement if we’re not reaping any benefits from it? FREEMAN: Yeah, I hear the question and—but let me add some perspective here. First of all, the ones suffering the most, it’s not us. There are really serious consequences from warming temperatures for countries around the world that are already being inundated because their low-lying coastal populations are at risk. And they’re much more vulnerable because we can afford adaptation measures, we can afford to respond to disasters, and we can afford to invest in resilience or adaptation, whereas many parts of the developing world cannot. They will be swamped. There will be massive migrations. There will be flooding, heat wave and tremendous suffering, and there already are some of these effects around the world. So I just add that perspective because I’m not sure it’s quite right that we’re the only ones or the ones who are suffering the most currently or that we will be in the future. We’re actually, in the United States, fairly well-positioned, even if some of the worst risks we anticipate befall us. We’re just a rich country compared to the rest of the world. I also would just comment that prices for gasoline are sky high here, and I understand that this is, as you say, annoying and quite difficult for folks who, you know, must purchase gas to get to work or must purchase gas in order to move around, they don’t have an option. But I will say that in many parts of the world gas prices are much higher, and they’re much higher in places like Europe and Canada and elsewhere because the governments have chosen to reflect in the price of gasoline more of the harms caused by burning fuel. In other words, they’re internalizing the cost that otherwise people have to bear in terms of health consequences from burning gas, climate consequences, et cetera. So this is all me just saying gas may seem really high and I understand it, but actually many countries choose to impose high gas prices really as a signal to populations about the cost of being dependent on these fuels. But the point of your question, I think, is what’s the value of the Paris Agreement? It’s not binding, and why are we bothering to commit to do so much? And I will say we’re not the only country to make a significant commitment. The EU countries have made significant commitments, even China. To put it in perspective, China’s commitment to level off emissions by a deadline is important. There are very significant pledges that have gone toward this agreement, and the fact that they’re nonbinding, I just want to shed a little light on that. You can say, well, it doesn’t matter because nobody can force these countries to deliver on their pledges, and there is some truth to that. There’s no grand international body presiding over this that comes knocking on the door of the world governments to say, you know, you said you’d pledge to reduce your emissions by X and you’re not even close, so we’re going to penalize you. There’s no such international enforcement system. But it turns out that the format of the Paris Agreement—which is to make a pledge and then to periodically every five years have to do what’s called a “stock take,” where the world countries come together and take stock of where they are in the progress—there are mechanisms to hold each other to account, that’s the theory of the agreement; and that there are regular meetings of the parties called Conferences of the Parties that are meant to be the vehicle for forcing a kind of truing-up and disclosure of how far countries have come. Now that’s an imperfect system, I will concede to you, but it is a big improvement over prior international climate regimes, which purported to be binding. But, for example, the Kyoto Protocol, the prior agreement to the Paris Agreement, only bound the world’s developed nations, meaning the rich countries of the world, and the developing world, which was fast overtaking the developed world in the amount of emissions being produced—so think of China, think of India, Brazil, et cetera—they weren’t part of the agreement. They had no obligation. So, while Kyoto was binding, it was binding on not the entire world, and it’s not the even—who were soon to be the largest emitters, including China. So Paris is an inclusive agreement. China’s in it. India’s in it. Brazil’s in it. Every country that’s a significant share of the world’s emissions is committed, so the inclusiveness of it is thought to be an important advance. Your question is still important. The proof is in the pudding. Are these countries going to come anywhere close to delivering on their pledges? But I guess what I would suggest is, we need an international vehicle in order to continue to press forward. And if the U.S. is in a leadership position in that international agreement, that’s better for our chances than if the U.S. is not. The strongest position to be in is the U.S. and China together. When the Paris Agreement was signed, Obama and Xi combined forces and both supported it. China has now backed off. President Xi did not show up in Glasgow for the meeting personally, whereas the Biden—President Biden did. So now we’re seeing a bit of a different approach. It’s a very long answer, but that’s because how these agreements work—their value, why they’re an improvement or not over the prior—is actually quite complicated. FASKIANOS: Now the war in Ukraine and how China’s going to align with Putin. FREEMAN: Yeah, I mean, this is really interesting—and I don’t know if any of the students have a question about that—but everything is speculative right now. For example—I mean, in terms of how this will come out for China and China’s relationship with the other powers of the world. China’s in a very delicate position, and it may turn out that its alliance with Russia, depending on how that plays out, will leave it in a position of trying to look for opportunities build back relationships with the rest of the world, and it might turn out that climate policy is an opportunity to re-establish itself. And so we can’t see how this will evolve, but a situation that looks at the moment like China’s aligned with the bad actor—Russia in this case—may actually open up opportunities in the future for it to readjust its behavior, and climate may be one of those opportunities. Historically, the United States and China, even when tense relationships existed over trade policy and other things, cooperated on climate. It became an opportunity, especially in the Obama years when I was in the White House. We had a lot of good agreements with China around climate policy, both bilaterally and multilaterally. It was sort of an area—it was a bright spot of relations. That may turn back around and come back following this conflict. FASKIANOS: A written question from, let’s see, Jackie Vazquez, who’s in undergraduate school at Lewis University in Illinois, asking: Is there any possibility for all countries to come together to make a global movement to combat climate change? Would that even make a difference? FREEMAN: I think that the Paris Agreement is meant to be at least an instrument of a global movement to address climate change. But I think if you’re talking about a political movement, that is people, not negotiators, representing governments, but populations and communities—I think we’re seeing some of that. I mean, I think this generation, your generation, has really given voice to a real need for climate action faster. And I give a lot of credit to young people. I say this—it makes me feel 150 years old when I say this—but I think this generation, at least in the United States, it’s taken the form of something called the Sunrise Movement and other youth movements. Of course, Greta Thunberg is the most famous young person putting a face on climate change, insisting that the older generations have let you all down, and I think there’s something to that. I can understand your frustration, and I would feel the same way if I were younger that the people with the power have not taken the steps necessary when they should have taken the steps to mitigate a global problem. And I think that we’re seeing movements all around the world; youth action all around the world. The problem comes in translating that political enthusiasm and political energy into policy, into laws and rules and requirements and incentives and subsidies and investments and inducements to change the trajectory to require over time—and quicker than—than many in industry want—require reductions faster, to translate it into investments from the private sector, because we need trillions of dollars of investments in low carbon technologies, in innovation. Translating that energy into real political action is the challenge. And I guess the one thing I’d say to you all is you have to vote. You have to put into power the people who support these policies, and you know, the youth vote is tremendously and increasingly important. So, in addition to activism, which is—which is critical, you want to vote in state, local, national elections at every opportunity. FASKIANOS: Earlier on, you talked about how the Supreme Court case is going to restrict the EPA trying to regulate. So there’s a question from Nathaniel Lowell, who’s at Skidmore College: Could you talk a little bit more about that Supreme Court decision, what that means for the Biden administration efforts to push forward within an act of Congress? You know, and what can be done? Because that’s pretty significant, and certainly just putting in executive orders, the next administration could just roll back on those—roll those executive orders back. FREEMAN: Yeah. So here’s what I’d say. First of all, I’m speculating a bit when I say the Court seems poised to restrict EPA’s authority. I think most observers think that’s what we got from oral argument. You know, we watched the oral argument, which is when the counsel for both sides—in this case, it was the government represented by the Solicitor General of the United States—that’s how the government is represented in the Supreme Court—and the challengers from the state of West Virginia and about seventeen other states, Republican-led states, along with the coal and mining industry on the other side, arguing this case to the justices. And you know, you can listen to these arguments, by the way. You can go to and click on the audio portion of these oral arguments. It’s fascinating. So I highly recommend and you can read the transcripts. And what we heard from the argument were the questions of the justices, the back and forth as the advocates were stating their positions, and basically, the petitioners in this case—that is, the mining industry, coal industry and the Republican-led states, including West Virginia—are basically saying the Environmental Protection Agency is overreaching. It’s stretching its authority under the Clean Air Act too far, and the courts should read the language of the Clean Air Act narrowly and limit what they can do. And the government, the Biden administration, and the power sector petitioners—sorry, the power sector respondents—these are legal terms of art, but this describes who’s on what side in the case—the power sector itself, this is the industry being regulated by these standards; this is the coal and natural gas plants across the country. The owners of the utilities that own these plants, they’re the ones who are going to be regulated and required to cut their carbon pollution, and yet they are on the side of the Biden administration because they want to preserve EPA’s power to set standards. They don’t want this to be a free for all in which they get sued in a bunch of different lawsuits. They want a coherent, consistent, implementable, realistic, cost-effective set of standards, and they’re prepared to make reductions. They want this done in an orderly fashion, and they don’t want the Supreme Court making a mess of things by, for example, restricting the EPA so much that the agency won’t take into account the reality of the power sector and how it works and allow them to average emissions—cut average emissions across their fleets; trade where it makes economic sense to trade emissions allowances. The industry wants all these flexibilities, and they’re worried that the Court will be on too much of a mission to cut the agency’s power, which will make the rules less economically sensible for the industry. So I hope that was an understandable explanation of what’s at stake and how unusual it is that the industry being regulated is on the side of the government in this case, supporting the idea that the EPA has the authority to do this, and the consequences of the case here are quite significant. Because if the Court limits EPA, the bottom line is the standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal and natural gas plants won’t be as stringent as they could have been. They won’t move as quickly as they could have moved, and the cuts won’t be as deep as they could have been. And that’s a loss—that’s a loss of a tool we would have in our toolbox to cut emissions from the sector in our economy that is the second largest sector in terms of its emissions. So we want a robust program to control those, and Congress didn’t pass one. And Congress doesn’t look like it’s passing one, so this is our second-best strategy. And if the Court crimps EPA so much that it limits the stringency, it’s like losing some ability that you thought you had to constrain your domestic emissions, which means it’s harder to fulfill our Paris pledge. That’s the bottom line. The last thing I’ll say—again, kind of a nerdy point, but for those of you who think about law and are interested in law—the Court should never have taken this case. You know, when—when people are unhappy with the decision in a lower court they can appeal to the Supreme Court. They ask the Court to grant review. Our Constitution requires that the Court only take cases where there is demonstrable harm or injury. You can’t go to the Supreme Court and say, you know, I’m not injured, but I really care about this, can you—can you help me out? You have to be injured. In this case there is, actually, currently no rule regulating anybody in the power sector, no federal rule, because the prior administration’s rule way back in the Obama days never went into effect. It was caught in litigation, and it was challenged in court. It never went into effect. And the Trump administration came in and repealed that and put out its own rule, which was a very minimal rule that did almost nothing to reduce emissions, and that got challenged and struck down by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. So, as a result, the bottom line people, there is no current federal rule regulating the power sector. Why would the Supreme Court take a case from West Virginia and other states and the coal industry complaining about something when nobody is being asked to do anything? There’s no harm. So it’s very unusual that the Court granted review in a case like that, and that is why many of us think they’re eager to do something that will constrain the EPA’s authority. I hope that made sense to folks. FASKIANOS: That was really helpful to clarify and give context to what’s going on. Thank you for that. So Terron Adlam has written a question, but also has a hand up. So just ask it yourself and give us your university. FREEMAN: You know, I see my former chancellor, Chancellor Carnesale from UCLA where I started my career. I'm just thrilled to see his name there. That’s great. Q: Hi there. FREEMAN: Hi. Q: Hi. So my question is, do you see any possibility of change of behavior of humans, especially during the global warfare/pandemic? I mean, ice caps are melting. Greenhouse gases are rising so much that—can we go past the differences, you think? FREEMAN: Yeah, I mean it’s very interesting you say that Terron. I do think we talk an awful lot about how we need to require industry to do things and that’s, of course, terribly important—you know, the auto makers and the oil and gas companies and the power plants and steel companies and how we do agriculture around the world. But in the end, there’s demand for energy and we are the demand. I’m sitting here on Zoom consuming a bunch of electricity. I got professional lights that you can’t see that are consuming a bunch of electricity. My phone is charging next to me consuming a bunch of electricity. And you know, I'm probably going to—well, I drive a Tesla—I’m lucky enough to have a Tesla, so I won’t be consuming gas later. But my point is just we all pull on energy, and you know, no one of us can transform the situation. We can’t accomplish the energy transition all by ourselves. But we can start thinking about the decisions we make, and we can start thinking about those implications and consequences. Your generation—I mean, I have a niece and nephew in their twenties, and I hear a lot about how nobody really wants a car anymore, apparently. I’m shocked at this, but there are generational shifts in how people think about consumption. Do you need your own vehicle or can you do ridesharing? Are we going to see ourselves in a world in the next fifteen, twenty years with autonomous vehicles that are electric vehicles, that we essentially share, at least in concentrated urban settings? These kinds of transformations, I think, are in part being driven by the demand from your generation. Likewise, I think as you build wealth—you guys will build wealth over time, right? You’re getting an education, right, and that education is directly connected to your earning power. You will build wealth over time as a result of becoming educated, and when you build wealth, you’ll have a decision about where to invest that wealth. And we see increasingly, social action investors, social commitments being made through people’s investment decisions, and they say we want to put our wealth into these kinds of stocks, these kinds of companies, these kinds of enterprises and not over here in these other ones. And I think that is another kind of behavior—where you put your capital is going to be another kind of decision that can help spark change. So, from the lowest level, most local decision about what you consume and how you consume it to bigger decisions later in life about where you put your money, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for you to make really consequential decisions. But I’m not somebody who believes that all of this will be fine if people just stop consuming energy because we all depend on energy, and we can’t stop consuming energy. For some of us, we can make decisions about where we want to get it from. Some of us live in jurisdictions where we can choose, quote/unquote, “to pay a little more” to be assured of getting more renewable energy as the provider. Not all of us can do that, and so, really, you need your governments to act. This is the kind of problem at the kind of scale where all of our individual activity can’t possibly be enough. I would say we have to do all of it. FASKIANOS: Well, I am going to go to Al Carnesale, your— FREEMAN: Oh! FASKIANOS: —your former chancellor. FREEMAN: My former chancellor! FASKIANOS: Your former chancellor and a CFR member. So, Al, over to you. Q: So we—since we traded places, I left Harvard to come to UCLA, you left UCLA to come to Harvard. FREEMAN: Yes! Q: Congratulations. So here’s my question is about nuclear power. For a number of years environmental groups have been opposed to nuclear power largely because of the waste problem. And then they—in light of climate change, they sort of changed their view and became reluctant supporters. And then came Fukushima and they again opposed nuclear power. Now, as we look ahead with the additional problems you’ve been talking about that may stymie some of our plans to deal with climate change, where do you think we might be headed on the nuclear problem? FREEMAN: You know, it’s interesting—well thank you and it’s just delightful to hear from you and see your—see you again. Here’s what I’d say. There’s a domestic conversation about nuclear and there’s a global conversation about nuclear. And of course, as you know, many countries in the world have made a big bet on nuclear. France has always been dependent on nuclear power, for example. China is investing heavily in nuclear power along with every other kind of energy because of their tremendous need as the population grows, and as they, you know, grow into the middle class. So there’s a lot of opportunity for nuclear to be built, especially updated sort of smaller more modular reactors, the next generation of reactors all around the world, and I think we’re going to see a lot of nuclear deployment. I don’t expect to see it in the United States, and the reason I don’t think we’re going to see it is the legacy you’ve cited, which is this historical discomfort with nuclear, and the ambivalence that is felt in this country about nuclear and the sort of unwillingness to tolerate the risks that are perceived from nuclear. We haven’t solved our long range—our long-term radioactive waste problem. You know, we never decided on Yucca Mountain or anywhere else to put the radioactive waste, so it’s being stored on site for—in large measure. And I think there’s still kind of a very local NIMBYism, a bad reaction to the idea of nuclear power. The challenge for us in the U.S. is right now nuclear provides about 20 percent of our electricity, and as these facilities are retired, where are we going to get that share of our electricity from? Will it be more renewable energy supported by natural gas for baseload? These are the questions if we lose even this relatively small share of nuclear that we have. The only other comment I’d make—and you may well know far more about this than me—but from my understanding of the cost comparison now, nuclear power, at least in the United States, is just far too expensive to build and not cost-competitive with the alternatives. Natural gas has been cheap because of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. There’s sort of abundant natural gas reserves released from shale. It outcompetes coal, and renewables have dropped so much in cost that they are extremely cost-competitive, so I don’t think nuclear competes in the American market, at least, this is what the experts have said to me. FASKIANOS: Al, given your expertise in this field, do you want to add anything? Q: It’s not to add anything, it’s to agree, largely. I think the catch is, how caught up are you in climate change? Because natural gas may be better than coal, but it’s not better than nuclear. But it would have to be government-subsidized, which basically in France it’s a national security consideration. So it would have to be subsidized as we subsidize many other things. FREEMAN: Right. Q: But I don’t see it happening. I think—I was actually on the President’s blue-ribbon commission, who tried to come up with a strategy for what to do about the waste. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: And the strategy said it had to go someplace where the people agreed to take it. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: And that’s not—that’s not happening. So I think your conclusion is right, but it is a tension for those of us who are concerned about climate change. FREEMAN: Yeah, it is a tension. And I think you rightly point out the evolution in thinking in the environmental community about this that initially opposed then, sort of, wait a minute, this is a zero-carbon source of energy and we should be for it. And you know, I—this is—for the students, you know, I always say to my students you can’t be against everything. You have to be for something. You can’t say, well, fossil energy, a disaster; nuclear energy, we’re not interested in that, that’s too risky et cetera, and all we want is wind and sun, when, at least currently without storage capacity, wind and sun alone without some support—this is in the electricity sector—wind and sun alone without some baseload support to regularly supply the energy when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, you need something else. And that’s what Chancellor Carnesale and I are talking about. What is that baseload? Is it going to be natural gas? Is going to be nuclear, et cetera? So you have to be for something, people, is the upshot of this exchange. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to go next—there are two written questions from Kai Corpuz and Natalie Simonian, and they’re both undergrads at Lewis University. I think they must either—must be focused at Lewis University or both taking the same course. Really talking about wealthy nations helping developing countries. Developing countries are not equipped with the funds to push for a green future. How are they supposed to participate in this? And you know, what is—what are the wealthy nations’ obligation to help assist developing economies in dealing with climate change? FREEMAN: Yes, I mean it’s a really good question. And of course, the developed world has an obligation to assist the developing world through technology transfer, with financial support. If the developed world wants other countries that have not had a chance to get as far in developing their economies yet, if they want their cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they’re going to have to make a contribution to support these countries in all these ways—financing, tech transfer, help with adaptation and resilience. And that commitment is part of the Paris Agreement, but it is true that the pledges that governments have made so far to produce annually billions of dollars for the developing world have not materialized to the level that was promised. So we are behind on that, and this is a significant problem. There is a very legitimate equity claim being made here, which is that the developed world has enjoyed economic growth. GDP has risen. We’ve all achieved a level of wealth and middle class. I mean, I’m talking on average for the developed world, obviously not everyone. We have tremendous income inequality in this country and around the world, but relatively speaking, our societies have evolved and become richer because of industrialization. We’ve already produced all our greenhouse gas emissions to achieve this level of prosperity, and the notion that now countries that haven’t gotten there yet should just reduce their emissions to their own economic disbenefit, I think everyone agrees that is not a legitimate position to take without offering assistance and support. So I think the leading countries of the world understand this and agree to this. The question is, how do you operationalize this? How do you best support and help the developing world? Where are the investments best made? How do we make sure the governments of the world are held to their commitments and produce the money they promised to produce? And that is an integral part of the Paris Agreement process. So, you know, I don’t want to suggest this is an easy problem, but I do agree the question is absolutely the correct way to think about this, which is we do have to help the countries of the world if we expect for us to achieve our climate mitigation and adaptation goals. FASKIANOS: Thank you, I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Sally Eun Ji Son, I believe at Columbia. Q: Oh, yeah. Hello. My name is Sally. I’m currently at Stanford engineering and an incoming PhD student at Columbia in the Political Science Department. And sort of relevant—related to, like, how different countries are in different stages, what I’ve noticed, as someone between Gen Z and Millennial—what I’ve noticed is that I, as an individual, like to take environmentally-conscious decisions. Yet, there’s some—there’s sort of this, like—a debate going on, like your action will not do anything to the Earth, your action will not do anything to climate change. And when I sort of encounter those debates, how should I navigate myself? Like, should I say it’s maybe not a direct environmental effect, but it could be a symbolic effect, political effect? Sort of, like, how do I navigate that individuals could also have power or, like, have a stance or position in shaping climate policy around the world? FREEMAN: Well, first of all, I applaud you for engaging in those debates, and you know, sometimes when we come up against viewpoints that we don’t agree with, we run away because we’re not interested in engaging. And I would just encourage you all to engage, and I mean in the most respectful way. I’ll get to the heart of your question, but it just gives me this opportunity to make this one pitch to you. So allow me—indulge me in making this one pitch to you about engaging in the way you’re suggesting. You know, my law students what I ask them to do is in the classroom if they hear something they disagree with, sometimes very strongly, I ask them to put it at its highest—in other words, make it the best version of that argument before you criticize it. So, if somebody didn’t make the best version of their argument and it’s easy to take them down, actually elevate it and say, I think—I think what you’re saying is this, and then what I’m hearing is this and give it the best, most legitimate form you can, and then engage with it on the merits, not them as a person. You don’t attack them as a person, but say here’s where I think differently. Here’s my perspective on these issues. So just the idea that you’re prepared to go back and forth on this, I think, is very laudable, and I encourage you to do it in that very respectful way. And you may not convince people of your point of view, but you may give them something to think about. And so what I’d say is—a little bit following on my earlier comment—that individual action can be impactful cumulatively, of course it can. If an entire community makes a decision to compete in their consumption of energy—you know there are these competitions among neighborhoods to be more energy-efficient. You know, you get this little notice in the mail that says your home is good compared to your neighbors, and your home is—in some communities this works. It actually promotes competition. In other communities it annoys them. It really depends on the politics of the community. But the point of this is just to say, communities are just—it’s just a cumulative set of individual actions, right? So I do think there’s something to changing individual behavior, and if lots of people do that, that makes a difference. So I don’t accept the idea that nothing you do matters, so don’t do anything. I mean, that argument is a recipe for never doing anything about anything. That is a large problem—because your share is necessarily small, so why should you change, and that, to me, is an excuse for inaction and apathy so that can’t be the right argument. But you can accept that individuals alone, even aggregated behavior alone, can’t change the world’s energy systems, that the scope and scale of that challenge—that’s a hundred-year challenge that requires the governments of the world to lead. So you can talk about the individual difference you can make, but that’s not enough, right? And all of these things have to be done at the same time, and they fit together. You know, local, national—state level, national, global, this all must be done at the same time. That’s the scope and scale of this problem. It’s a really—climate is a really hard problem because the world’s energy system is important for everything from our economic prosperity to our national security, and you can’t transform the world’s energy system overnight without affecting—first of all, you can’t transform it overnight no matter what you do. But even as we transition, we have to think about national security implications, which is what the Ukraine war makes us do. There are geopolitical implications to how energy moves around the world, and who has energy power around the world. And as we shift to a different energy profile, those the power dynamics will shift, and we need to think about that. You know, we need to make sure that the United States has an energy policy that is strategically in our interest, and you can’t think about climate without thinking about that. Likewise, you can’t think about climate change without thinking about economic development and—and the flourishing—the ability of societies to flourish. So—and you can’t think about it without thinking about equality and equity and justice. So it’s a really hard problem, but that’s why it’s so fascinating to learn about. FASKIANOS: Thank you, the next question is from Chaney Howard, who is a senior honors international business major at Howard University. Going back to the war on Ukraine, how do you feel the argument for infrastructure development can be introduced into this conversation as new strategies and allegiance pledges are emerging? FREEMAN: I’m not sure I fully understand that. Can we have a little bit of clarification? FASIKANOS: All right, Chaney, are you able to unmute yourself to clarify, because I can’t divine from the written question. Q: Can you hear me now? FREEMAN: Yes, excellent. Q: OK, perfect. So my question is really surrounding ways that the conversation can be a little bit more direct. So you mentioned how there needs to be a development of infrastructure for overall environmental, like, sustainability, and you were talking about electric cars— FREEMAN: Right. Q: —and just kind of having that conversation with global powers. And so I’m curious how you think—now that we’re in this transitional period and some of the nations that are supporting Ukraine are working to develop new strategies and new partnerships, what are ways that we can encourage the government and then the global commerce centers to kind of establish those new strategies for environmental sustainability? FREEMAN: So I’m not a 100 percent sure how Ukraine fits there. But let me talk more generally about this idea of infrastructure and investment because I think what the IPCC report that we were talking about that’s projecting climate-related risks and saying what’s necessary to do in order to avoid them and what the Paris Agreement represents and what I think the current conversation around what’s necessary tells us—the strong message from all of these vehicles and processes and meetings, the strong message is we need massive investment from the private sector and government combined in partnership into what the new energy system of the globe has to look like. Meaning, you have to build the power plants of the future. You have to support commercial-scale renewable power. You have to build the charging infrastructure to electrify the transportation fleet to the extent possible. You have to build a modern grid, not just in this country but all around the world, that is capable of supporting the level of electrification that we need. Because to move sectors like transportation off oil and gas, you’re going to need—off oil, rather—transportation is mostly dependent on oil—you’re going to need to power them differently, and right now we’re thinking of mostly powering cars and many trucks from electricity, which means fortifying the nation’s and the globe’s grids. All of that is infrastructure. All of that requires investment. And there are massive R&D investments, you can imagine, necessary in the low carbon technology of the future. Hydrogen—eventually producing green hydrogen as a fuel source. There are techniques for removing carbon from—direct air capture. Carbon from the atmosphere, things like direct air capture. Or, you know, other carbon removal technologies, they’re controversial but they may be necessary. Carbon capture and sequestration, putting it underground, carbon dioxide underground—again, controversial. But if any of these future low-carbon technologies or remediation techniques are going to succeed, they will require trillions of dollars of investments. So, the kind of level of investment that people are talking about—I’ll just give you an example. At the latest COP meeting, the Conference of the Parties, meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, which is—these meetings are part of the international process of updating and checking in on the Paris Agreement. The world’s biggest companies and financial institutions came together, and 5,200 businesses pledged to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 450 banks, insurers and investors representing $130 trillion in assets. Those are the assets they invest, which is 40 percent of the world’s private capital. And I’m giving you all these numbers because I want to impress you with the scale of the commitments you’re seeing from the private sector, from banks and lenders, investors and businesses. They committed to making their portfolios climate neutral by 2050. My point is there is a lot of activity in the private sector, both committing to net-zero goals themselves and also committing to investing capital, big money, trillions of dollars—up to $9 trillion annually is what is projected to be needed, that’s $105 trillion over thirty years. That’s how much money we need to put into the infrastructure you’re talking about, the new—next generation energy infrastructure. All of the things I’ve discussed—the future of power plants, the future of transportation, new breakthrough technologies, new remediation techniques, new resilience—all of this requires massive investment. And the governments of the world and the private sector are nowhere near what they need to do combined to pull off what amounts to a moon-shot kind of level of investment. So this is a long answer, but it’s a way of saying the infrastructure we’re talking about in a really concrete way is the energy system of the future, and it’s going to require a massive level of investment. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We’re going to go next to William Naeger, who is a law student at Washburn University. Q: Hi. Yeah, like she said, I’m at Washburn Law School. I’m wondering if your impression is that these kinds of issues will continue to mainly be governed internationally by COP or the Paris Agreement? Or, if over time, as it becomes more and more extreme, whether it will just become one factor in, like, national security and trade agreements and migration issues and kind of just run through everything else that we do already? FREEMAN: Well, I think this is very astute of you, because, in fact, I think climate change as a global challenge has actually come into the mainstream of all of these other fields. I do think that it is part of the discussion around national security. I do think that climate is part of the discussion around trade and that it will become more embedded and more central to these other domains over time. And I think that—people talk a lot about how we could pair climate commitments of countries with trade measures that countries— the trade relationships that countries have with each other. And people talk, for example, about eventually having countries pledge to reduce their emissions, and if they don’t reduce them, they may suffer a border tariff on goods that are produced in countries that don’t have climate policies, that impose costs for greenhouse gas emissions. So they’ll have to—there’ll be a tariff or a border tax on goods that are basically being produced and sold cheaper because they’re not subject to carbon constraints. That’s a merging of climate and trade policy that we may well see over time. Likewise, I think we’re learning to talk. We’re not there yet entirely, but we’re learning to talk about national security and climate together. Climate is really a national security issue. And you saw the Department of Defense and its reports and testimony to Congress from members of the military who are frequently called on to testify about the impact of climate change on the—they will acknowledge that climate change is a threat multiplier for the military and it’s a national security issue. Likewise, when we talk about the Ukraine conflict, the war, and we talk about the need to supply the world with oil and gas in times like this when one of the largest suppliers is engaged in very bad action and being sanctioned for it, how do we meet those short-term energy needs but stay on path with our climate goals? That’s a very hard thing to do. You have to be able to talk about the short-term, the medium-term, the long-term all at the same time. So I think your question is very smart in the sense that you understand that climate has to become embedded in all of these other fields and conversations, and I think that’s already happening. The Biden administration, I think, to its credit has announced what it calls a whole of government approach to climate, and I think it’s trying to do basically what you’re talking about, which is say the entire federal government that the Biden administration runs, right, say to all the agencies across federal government—from financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, which makes sure that markets are open and transparent and investors have the right information—even the financial regulators are saying, listen, companies, if you want to trade on this exchange, you better disclose your climate-related risks so investors can make decisions that are appropriate. That’s bringing climate into financial regulation. And so the Biden administration has basically said this issue should appear and be relevant to all the things we do. And so I think we’re seeing what you’re talking about happening to a greater extent, more and more. FASKIANOS: So, Jody, we’re at the end of our time. There are a lot of questions that we could not get to, and I apologize for that. Just to sum up, what do you think we all should be doing at the individual level to do our part to affect change and to help with the climate change crisis? FREEMAN: Well, like anybody who’s had media training I’m going to not answer your question and say what I want to say anyway, which is— FASKIANOS: Perfect. (Laughs.) FREEMAN: —yeah—because I actually think I’ve talked a little bit about what we can all do and why it makes sense to take individual action. But what I think I would say, rather, is just I know that there is a lot of reason for pessimism, and I really understand it. And I certainly sometimes feel it myself. I mean, you know, you guys have been through a very, very tough time—a global pandemic, which has been just an awful experience, scary, and disorienting. And you’re doing it while you’re trying to go to school and live young lives, and that’s been hugely disruptive. You now see this war in Ukraine, which is deeply, deeply upsetting, a horrific assault on the Ukrainian population, and you’re living at a time when you think climate change is a major challenge that, perhaps, the governments of the world aren’t up to. And you see a divided country and, in fact, divisions all around the world and threats to democracy, and restrictions on voting rights. I see what you see, and I can see why you would be upset and worried. But I also want to suggest to you that things are also changing, and there are lots of opportunities for good things to happen. And there’s a tremendous amount of innovation and creativity on all kinds of low carbon technologies. There are innovations all the time that open up possibilities. Just look at what’s happened with solar power and wind power, renewable power over time. The costs have dropped. The potential for wind and solar has increased exponentially. That’s a very hopeful thing. So technology change is very promising. There’s a possibility to affect politics in a positive direction. I encourage you to affect politics—this sort of answers your question, Irina. So affect politics in a positive direction, be active, be engaged, because you can effect change by—through activism and through voting. And I also encourage you to pursue professions where you can make a mark. I mean, you can make a difference by engaging with these issues from whatever professional occupation you choose. You can engage with one or another aspect of these challenges of climate, energy, national security. So I have reason for optimism. I think, as frustrating as it is to say, well, the Paris Agreement isn’t enough, there’s another way to look at it, which is there is an international agreement on climate change. It does have a level of ambition that is an initial step and can be built upon, if we can keep the structure together, if the U.S. continues to lead and look for partners in leading along with the EU. Maybe China will come back to the fold eventually. In other words, things change. Stay tuned, be engaged, and stay optimistic because I, frankly, think there is tremendous opportunity for your generation to engage with these issues in a really constructive and transformative way. And that is where I would leave it. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much, and I’m glad you left it there. It was a perfect way to end this webinar, and thanks to everybody for joining. You should follow Jody Freeman on Twitter at @JodyFreemanHLS, so go there to see what she continues to say. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, April 6, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We’ll focus on China, India, and the narratives of great powers. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_academic and, of course, go to,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you again, and thank you, Professor Freeman. (END)
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 after the fact. 

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Past Higher Education Webinars


Andrew Gordon, chief executive officer and founder of Diversity Abroad, leads the conversation on the importance of providing equitable access to global education.   CASA: Hello, and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am Maria Casa, director of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Thank you all for joining us. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be made available on our website, if you would like to share them with your colleagues after today. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Andrew Gordon with us to discuss the importance of providing equitable access to global education. Mr. Gordon is the founder and chief executive officer of Diversity Abroad, an organization focusing on topics pertaining to access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in international education. He works with higher education institutions, nonprofit and for profit organizations, and government agencies for developing strategies for increasing access to international education for diverse, first-generation, and high financial needs students. Mr. Gordon is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Association of International Education Administrators, the European Association for International Education, the National Association of Black Accountants, and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. He is an alum of INROADS and the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce. Welcome, Andrew. Thank you very much for speaking with us today. GORDON: It’s great to be here. Thank you. CASA: Can you begin by giving us an overview of what equitable access to global education means and its importance in higher education? GORDON: Yeah. Absolutely. First, just want to say thank you, Maria, for the invitation to speak and to CFR Academic for hosting this session, particularly, this important topic. As I delve into my remarks, I’ll give a little bit of background as to the—where my remarks are going to come from. As Maria mentioned, I founded an organization, Diversity Abroad, that centers diversity, equity, inclusion in global education. And over the last sixteen years had an opportunity to work with higher-education institutions, everything from community colleges to liberal arts, R-1s to Ivy Leagues, on this question of what does equitable access to global learning and global education mean. And we get this question often and, usually, when I get this question sitting in meetings with academic professionals, I, in some ways, put the question back and I say, well, what’s the benefit of global education and global learning. Why do our campuses invest in infrastructure for global education and global learning, whether that’s sending students abroad, supporting international students, ensuring that global themes are embedded into the curriculum? We often hear in the field of international education the term campus internationalization. Why are we investing in that in the first place? Well, when we think about global education and global learning and the students that engage in it, one of the organizations that many on the call may be familiar with, AAC&U, puts global learning and global education as a high impact practice, the kind of opportunities that help our students excel academically, grow interpersonally, and also be positioned that much better to thrive professionally once they leave school. And so taking a step back and thinking of the benefits of global education, we talk about students who engage in global learning opportunities. Many times this helps open their—broaden their perspective of the world as a whole. If they’re participating in a physical—or education abroad program, many times it helps them in building resilience, a deeper sense of self, having more empathy for those who are, if you will, “different” than they are, embracing difference, something I think we can all appreciate we need that much more so in our society. So when we think—and we could probably, Maria, spend the entire time that we have talking about the benefits of global education and global learning. But the thing is that we know that—those of us who work in higher education know that and in many ways we are the gatekeepers to the kind of experiences inside the classroom, outside the classroom, that we say will fall under the umbrella of global learning. So if we know the benefits of these opportunities, we know how it can impact our students, then it is—well, the onus is on us to ensure that all of our students have equitable access to the benefits of global learning. We can’t, on one side, say these are all the benefits of these phenomenal opportunities and so on and so forth, and then on the other side be OK with only certain students having access to global learning opportunities because, essentially, what we’re saying is, well, this is a great thing that we have but only certain students are able to. And when we think about what—I would say, for many folks, when we talk about global learning, I would say one of the first things we often go to is study abroad. Study abroad is a phenomenal, phenomenal experience, and we’ll talk about other forms in a moment. When we think about that particular opportunity that, I would say, is very high profile on many campuses, students graduating from high school going into university, the percentage is that eightieth, ninetieth percentile of students who are interested in study abroad. We know that is one of the global—one of the experiences that would fall under global education. We also know that, traditionally, study abroad has not reached a vast—too many of our students, we’ll say, particularly our students of color, those who are first generation, those who are coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. And so I think, in many ways, we’ll get students who we say are—the growing population of students on our campuses are also those that study abroad has not supported, and even when campuses have been more successful in getting students to study abroad they haven’t necessarily been as—we haven’t necessarily been as successful in supporting the success of our students while they’re there. So, when we think back to study abroad, if you will, being an aspect of global learning, which is a high-impact practice, you know, high-impact practice is only a high-impact practice if it’s properly administered. So we send students but we’re not prepared to really support our students in a very holistic way, in an inclusive way. Great, we’ve sent them but we’re not really giving them equitable access to the benefits of a global education. And, likewise, global education exists in different parts of the campus as well. Think about what happens in our classrooms. In the curriculum we have a variety of different area—academic areas of focus. Frankly, how we support our incoming international students—our international students—every student is not going to study abroad, but our campuses are globally diverse environments where our students from all backgrounds exist and our international students and how they acclimate to U.S. culture, how we prepare them to engage with students from a variety of different backgrounds, Americans from a variety of different backgrounds. That’s also part of the global learning that happens. And so when we take a step back and just, again, think about why is it that we invest in global education and global learning, it’s because we know the benefits of it. We are 5 percent of the world’s population, and I think if anything in the last two years, sort of two and a half, three years, we—it is very clear and currently as well is very clear how incredibly interconnected we are as a globe, even as their call—you hear the pundits and otherwise say, like, oh, well, globalization is dead, and so on and so forth. It was, like, regardless of what those conversations are, we know that as a world we are all reliant on each other, and the world that the students, particularly the younger students, if you will—younger age college students—are going to inherit is going to be that much more interconnected. And so for us, as a country, the United States, to be able to take on the challenges and the opportunities that the twenty-first century puts before us and to be successful in taking on the—both challenges and opportunities that has to be a global approach because we’re not on this globe by ourselves, and for our future leaders to be prepared to do that it’s incredibly important for them to appreciate the importance of global learning and global education, have equitable access to a variety of those opportunities. And, frankly, we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we only allow our—maybe we say not intentionally but structurally the situation is such that only a certain population of students has access, real access, to these kind of learning opportunities. And so, I think, as higher education institutions we have to ask ourselves, what does that mean, yes, for the International Education Office, but also what does that mean for our academics in the classroom? What does that mean for our senior administrators who are deciding where to invest funds and otherwise of an institution? What does it mean for our chief diversity officers, for our VP of student affairs, and otherwise, who also were tasked with ensuring equitable access to a variety of opportunities that are available on campus? And so, when we think about these questions at Diversity Abroad, I think being in association and being able to work with the three hundred-plus institutions that we do on these topics, we really do look at it holistically. What does that mean—global education, equitable access, and education abroad? Global learning at home, what happens in and outside the classroom domestically? Support for our international students? But also how are we also ensuring that the professionals—faculty, staff, and otherwise who are engaged in global educational opportunities or experiences in and outside the classroom—that those faculty members and those staff are reflective of the rich diversity that our students embody? CASA: Thank you. Thank you for that introduction. Now let’s open it up to questions. As a reminder, please click the raise hand icon on your screen to request to ask a question. On an iPad or Tablet, click the more button to access the raise hand feature. When you are called upon, accept the unmute prompt and please state your name and affiliation, followed by your question. You may also submit a written question via the Q&A icon or vote for other questions you would like to hear answered in your Zoom window at any time. We do have a raised hand from Basilio Monteiro, associate dean and associate professor of mass communication at St. John’s University. Basilio? (No response.) You could accept the unmute prompt. Q: Thank you very much, Mr. Gordon, for your introductory remarks. You know, this internationalization of education—oftentimes what happens is I find that students go and stay within the one small bubble instead of mixing up with other students from the country where they go to. That interaction is not there, and oftentimes, it’s not even promoted to go. They will go—they go as tourists. They don’t go as learners to learn, and that seems to be the kind of trend, so I find. And I talk to the students. They’ll say, OK, oh, I went here. I went there. I saw this and I saw that, and that’s it. So that is—what is your overall national experience at this point on this particular context? GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that comment, and you’re right. I think that as the field of international education we have not been as intentional as we could be in ensuring that once we’ve put in the investment dollars, human capital, and otherwise that helps get students overseas that we’re really creating kind of an environment where our students are going to have the kind of experiences that they come back and they really have been able to develop deeper empathy, embracing difference, and so on and so forth. We think about it here in the U.S., right. The students at our campus, a lot of them are having a good time but they’re still learning. They’re still having very, in some cases—I hate to overuse the word transformative, but experiences that are shaping who they are becoming as people. That doesn’t have to change when our students go abroad, and so whether we’re talking about programs that are led directly by faculty, I’m thinking about how are we intentionally finding opportunities for our students to engage in the host community; what are opportunities of reciprocity when they’re in country in a certain location so that our students don’t just have a stamp on their passport but they’d have the kind of experience that is changing how they view themselves, how they view the world, and, frankly, how they view both the challenges and the opportunities that lie before all of us. What is incumbent on, I think, institutions as well as the organizations, institutions that work with a lot of third party organizations to help facilitate study abroad, it’s incumbent on those organizations as well to say, we know our students want to have a good time. They’re going to have a good time. That’s excellent. We want that. But we also—the core reason why our students are engaging in these opportunities needs to be academic, self-development, and otherwise. The fun is going to happen, but that other piece needs to be there because if it’s not then, frankly, we become glorified travel agents, taking students from point A to point B. I don’t think if you asked anyone in international education what their role is that we would say that’s what our role is because it’s not. But we need to be intentional about ensuring that the kind of outcomes that we want, that we say our students can gain—we’ve built the structure to be able to—for our students to be able to achieve those outcomes. Thank you for that question. CASA: Our next question comes from Beverly Lindsay from the University of California system. Q: Thanks to both of you for your introductory comments, Maria and Andrew, for your statement. As a former member of NAFSA and a number of other professional organizations, I actually have several questions, but I will limit them. One is, as you know, throughout higher education, particularly in comprehensive research universities, there is an emphasis on the African diaspora, the Latino diaspora. So many of the undergraduate students tend to go to those countries that are African, the Caribbean, or South America, for example. How do we encourage students, regardless of demographic background, to go anywhere in the world because they would get more experience? For example, when I was the international dean at Hampton we set up a program where the undergraduates could go and do internships at the British parliament, which was really innovative. The second question I would ask you is to what extent do you involve graduate students through your organization? Now, I realize that they’re often focused on their thesis or, in rare cases, we don’t think of study abroad. We think of research opportunities for our doctoral students. But to what extent do you involve students from different levels? Because I know in community colleges there is considerable emphasis now in terms of having the Los Angeles Community College system, the Dade County students in the community colleges, go abroad. So, as I said, I had many but I’ll just focus on those right now. But thank you for your forthcoming answer. GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that, Beverly. I think when it comes to destination, where our students go, again, unfortunately, I think, that our field has an opportunity to go in a different direction as far as a narrative about certain places. I think, unfortunately, in the U.S., when we think of Africa, when we think of the Global South as a whole, it’s often positioned through the lens of deficit of the people, of the governments, health care systems, and so on and so forth. And, without question, there’s work to be done. But there’s a lot that’s happening of innovation in—I mean, Africa, the continent, I mean, obviously, the different countries. Same thing in Latin America. But if we position these locations as you go here to help, you go here almost in a savior type mentality, whereas if we position locations like Europe and Australia and otherwise, like, well, you go here, this is where you’re going to learn, this is where you go on internships and this is where you’re going to prepare yourself professionally, really, seems like amplifying this narrative of parts of the world are important for learning, growth, innovation. Other parts of the world are more focused on philanthropy, giving, and so on and so forth. And I think that puts us, frankly, as a nation in peril. There was a recent survey that came out—I want to say it was in the last couple weeks—and it—they surveyed youth in Africa. I can’t remember which countries. But it asked—the question was who has a more positive impact on your country, China or the U.S., or maybe it was a variety of countries. But China eked out ahead the U.S. So the continent with the youngest population in the world, and we know what that means for the future, of future work and otherwise, views of different countries having a positive impact. We don’t see a lot of study abroad programs on the African continent, for example, or Latin America that are focused on innovation and technology. I can—I can go on and on. And so I think we have to take a step back as a field of international education—I think, higher education as a whole—and push back against narratives of how certain regions of the world, certain countries, are viewed so that our students are encouraged to want to engage anywhere in the world as they’re looking to deepen their understanding, grow interpersonally, be that much better positioned for their post-degree careers, and so on and so forth. So that—I think that onus is on us as institutions, as organizations, to increase that perspective. But I also think that that also has an aspect to deal with incoming international students as well. With the incoming international students how are we helping them have opportunity to tell more their story about the countries they come from, the contributions their countries make to the U.S., to other parts of the world, and so on and so forth. As to the other question as far as how we engage with graduate students, we were—I would say primarily graduate students who are working in higher education programs, international education programs, that are interested specifically in this work will engage with Diversity Abroad in a variety of ways, either participating in one of the communities of practice that we have, coming to our annual conference, Global Inclusion, in a kind of variety of different ways from that perspective. As far as specifically looking at mobility-based programs for graduate students, that’s not our focus at this time. CASA: Our next question comes from Hemchand Gossai, associate dean of humanities and social sciences at Northern Virginia Community College. Q: Maria and Andrew, thank you very much for your comments and also for providing this opportunity. My institution is very large with a multi-campus sort of setting with seventy-five thousand students. It’s almost ubiquitous among institutions of higher education, particularly in their admissions process, to extol the importance of how many countries are represented at the college or university, and that’s a great thing. We have that as well, and we have a large contingent of international students. One of the things that has struck me and that you have sort of alluded to, Andrew, has to do with the role of our international students as they arrive on our campuses, and I’m wondering if you can reflect a little bit about how best our large contingent of international students might not only be integrated but might actually interact and shape our local community of first-generation students, of students of color, and so on. If you would, I’d appreciate it. Thanks. GORDON: Yeah. Excellent, excellent question. Let me start off by saying, for us, when we think of international students—well, not when we think of international students—but the process of the experience that our international students have operationally, if you will, in many ways it’s the flip of our students going abroad. We had a question earlier about how do we better ensure our domestic students are integrating once they’re in country. We’re just flipping that and saying that for our international students. So what we’re saying is that we want the same for both. We don’t want our international students to be seen as, hey, this is a revenue source. You’re here on campus. Now we’re done. No. We want them to be successful, and our international students embody the same identities that our domestic students do. They’re students of color. They’re first-gen, disabilities, come from different religious backgrounds, LGBTQI. They embody all these same identities that we’re trying to support with our domestic students and we want to do the same thing for international students. So and thinking of what that means is really asking the question is what does holistic support look like for our international students. Too often, our international students once they get on campus, they’re seen as that international student. I mean, simply, that’s their passport. That’s where you’re actually born. They need the same support, and then some additional at times, as our domestic students. Are we asking them, what contributions do you want in the classroom? Are we appreciating that our international students are coming from a different perspective during certain discussions and are we giving them space to be able to share those perspectives and honor the fact that it comes from a different perspective but that’s still important? Because that’s part of global learning that our domestic students benefit from as well when you have those rich discussions in the classroom, when you have a variety of different perspectives that are being shared, and we think about being able to hear that, analyze what’s being said, and develop your own sense of, OK, this is my thought on this topic or otherwise. But when we just have a conversation, for example, in the classroom that’s focused on domestic, even though we have a wide or very diverse population of students that—of international students in our classroom we’re really missing an opportunity to both engage with the international students, help them have a deeper sense of belonging on our campus and, frankly, for our domestic students and all students to be to be able to learn that much more so. The other part of the question I mentioned, and kind of tying back to what I mentioned a second ago of how our international students embody so much of that—so many of the identities of our domestic students, you know, when we have programs for first-generation college students are we just thinking about our domestic first-generation college students? Our international students can be the same way. When we think about our disability services, when we think about programs that are maybe related to race in ways, are we thinking intentionally about that? Yes, an African American and an international student from Africa who’s from Africa and who’s Black and has grown up in Africa their entire life very well are—some shared experiences, but very different. Are we thinking about opportunities for learning and growth from that way? So as I would say it’s the intentionality in the programming and the intentionality in thinking of what is our role in—and, obviously, helping our students be successful, but particularly from an equitable access to global education, we have all the ingredients to the salad, if you will. What’s our role in making sure that this comes together and this works in a way that serves our students, our domestic, our international students—frankly, serves the institution. And so there’s broader goals that we have in higher education around learning but also preparing a generation of citizens that are thoughtful not just about home but thoughtful about the relationship between home and abroad and how our world is broadly interconnected and reliant on each other. CASA: Thank you. Our next question comes from Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, associate professor in the department of political science in Brooklyn College. Q: Good evening. I’m calling from Nigeria now. And I’m a professor, not associate. I was wondering if there is a two-way stream in terms of the way in which international education is conceived of thinking about students coming from foreign countries as exchange students, and I’m particularly interested in this from an African perspective. It’s unbelievably difficult for many African students to come to the U.S. as exchange students. They face formidable visa barriers, and for many of them that are from socioeconomic backgrounds where they are not flush with money it is actually an impossibility. So, I mean, is there any kind of thinking about how skewed the pool is that the educational institutions in the U.S. is joined from, given all the constraints that are put in the way of students from the Global South, especially Africa— GORDON: Yeah. Q: —who want to just come to the U.S. just like our students go to those places? GORDON: Yeah. Yeah. No. Wonderful, wonderful question, and I’d kind of bifurcate my answers. I think with respect to visas, I think that’s a question—offices handle that at State and I think there has to be a broader question of are we creating enough opportunities for students or making it easy enough for students or talented students that want to come take advantage of the rich diversity and the academic opportunities, some professional opportunities that exist in the U.S. Are we making it easy enough for those students to come to our shores? And I think that’s a question that—State has to continue to be evaluated from that aspect. I’m not by any means an expert with visas, so I’m going to—I’m going to stay in my lane to an extent. But I think, broadly speaking, is we do—I think as a nation have welcomed and want to continue to welcome talented folks from all over the world to be able to come. And then I think the second part of the question, what’s the role of institutions, I think similar to our—to domestic students, we know who our students are. We know what the challenges they have and being able to access opportunities that we have. And so we say—going back to what I mentioned earlier, we say we know what these—we know the benefits of these kind of opportunities. We’re the gatekeepers to that. We know who our students are, and we know the challenges they have and this includes international students that are interested in coming, be it exchange or otherwise. How do we in higher education create more opportunities for talented students to be able to take advantage of these opportunities that we’re very clear the benefits to them? And so from an exchange standpoint, looking and saying are we building exchanges—do we have the infrastructure, are we investing in the infrastructure so that we can have more exchanges with the Global South? Because many times exchanges, while not always cost neutral, is usually much more cost neutral than a paid study abroad or otherwise. So are we creating those kind of opportunities? Again, realizing that that benefits the student—the international student, the domestic student. It benefits our campus community and our broader community as a whole when our international students are out and engaging with the broader community around the universities and otherwise. So are we investing in that? And then when it comes to fully matriculated students, whether at the undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate level, are we doing enough? Is there more we should be doing to ensure that if funding is a challenge that the funding is—funding schemes that are available to better create opportunities for students to be able to come, and then also like we’ve mentioned in the last question is our campus infrastructure—our campus set up in such that our international students feel like they belong, the campus is thinking about them, and this is a place where they want to, frankly, stay and contribute their knowledge or insights, their experience, and otherwise, which, again, benefits them, benefits the campus, and benefits the community and the nation as a whole. Q: Next we have a comment from Pamela Waldron-Moore, a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana. You have touched on this topic but you might want to go a little deeper. She writes, as a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana, I know that this is a helpful conversation. One area of global education that does not seem to have had much exposure is the opportunity for national institutions to provide exchange opportunities that allow low-income students to appreciate diverse education. For example, students can learn much from institutions located in naturally global environments—New York, DC, California, et cetera. Many U.S. institutions are teeming with international students who are happy to interact with a wider body of learners. GORDON: Yeah. I’ll just comment on that briefly, and I know Xavier does great work with our national exchange as well as with international. But your point is right on. When we think of the globally diverse cities that exist in the U.S., they’re learning labs. I’m from the Bay Area. I like going to San Francisco. I go to places in Oakland and otherwise. These are learning opportunities. I think when you think of the flow of migration to certain areas within the country, there’s so much to learn there for our domestic students as well as for our international students. And so when we think of global learning holistically, as much as—I started Diversity Abroad based on study abroad. I’m a fan of study abroad, absolutely. But I think when we think about global learning, we have to get—mobility from the standpoint of getting on a plane, crossing an ocean, and using your passport is not the only way. And when we think about the institutions, where our institutions exist, what does the community look like? How globally diverse is our local community? Are there opportunities for us, thinking of co-curricular activities, to better engage with our local communities as well, because part of the broader goal that we talked about, the benefits of global learning, those benefits can be gained—different benefits, different places, in different ways, but can be gained locally but also can be gained abroad. So, an excellent point. CASA: Again, as a reminder, please click the raise hand icon on your screen if you would like to ask a question, or write it in via the Q&A icon. Andrew, can you talk a little bit about the specific activities that Diversity Abroad engages in as an organization? GORDON: Yeah. Absolutely. Happy to. So Diversity Abroad founded in 2006. We’re a member-based consortium, around three hundred and fifty colleges and universities. As I mentioned, it ranges from small liberal arts to community colleges, Ivies to R-1s, and, really, we—our focus is looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion within internationalization and global education. And so what does that mean? We look at four key areas of our work. It’s education abroad, international students, global learning at home, and then career and organizational advancement, and we—the actual practices of the work that we do focuses heavy on learning and development. So everything from our annual conference, Global Inclusion, to our DEI certificate for folks who are engaged in global education or are interested in global education, as well as a leadership certificate for student leaders who want to embed DEI, global, into their leadership. We publish a set of good practices called the Global Equity Inclusion Guidelines, it’s a set of policy practices for embedding DEI into a campus’s global education operation, and then there’s a ton of thought leadership that we do, collaboration with organizations. We have a phenomenal team that is always working to continue to push this conversation forward, and maybe more than moving the conversation forward, to push forward resources, learning opportunities, and otherwise to ensure that, frankly, as a field a decade from now we’re not having this same conversation but that we’ve made some real tangible progress in going forward. So, much harder to execute on a daily and weekly basis than to kind of go over in a couple of seconds. But I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing and always interested in collaborating with professionals and institutions that share—frankly, share our vision of equitable access to global educational opportunities. CASA: Great. Our next question comes from Krishna Garza-Baker from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She’s assistant director of experiential learning. Q: Hello, Maria and Andrew. Thank you so much for this conversation. I’m actually a current member of Diversity Abroad and absolutely love all their resources. I’m there on a daily basis. So I would like to reflect back to the idea on promoting the benefits of global learning. As much as I promote the benefits of global programs to my students—I work specifically with business students at the Alvarez College of Business—what are some ways in which you have seen or experienced navigating the topic of the financial investment into educational experience and what are some other barriers to global learning that you have seen for domestic students? GORDON: Krishna, thank you for that comment and happy to have you as part of the Diversity Abroad community. So finance is interesting. Without question, finances can be a barrier to students engaging in global educational opportunities, particularly mobility-based ones. What’s interesting, though, is that at times when you ask a student, are you interested in studying abroad, for example? They say, no, I can’t afford it. And I was, like, well, do you know how much it costs? Well, I’m not actually sure. Are you sure how your financial aid works and how your financial aid can support? It was, like, no, I’m not actually sure. So you have students sometimes that see study abroad and there’s an interest, but for a variety of other reasons, maybe they’re becoming a little bit more hesitant, and finance is an easy one to go to say, oh, I can’t afford it. And so I think it’s important for, one, us to understand, from a financial standpoint, A, is the students—can they really not afford it? How are we addressing that? Or is this a question of, I’m interested and I’m on the fence and so on and so forth and I’m just kind of saying financial. I think for the aspect of students not being able to afford it, as an institution, again, we have to go back and say what’s the value of global educational opportunities. We know that students who are statistically—we’re saying that students who study abroad graduate sooner, graduate with higher GPAs as well. So that is hitting part of a broader goal that we have of higher education about persistence and completion. And so as an institution are we investing in the kind of activities like global education opportunities that are supporting the broader goals that we have as an institution around persistence and completion, and that is something that’s strategically at institutions that—are questions we have to ask ourselves. We say, you know, yes, global, you know, the importance of all these opportunities to study abroad and so on and so forth. Are we investing in it in a way that any of our students that are interested finance is not going to be the barrier that pushes them back? Now, I think, on the other aspect of it with respect to finance and being able to talk with students and their families, students and their families who are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. They’re on campus, and they’re on campus, in a way, because they’ve seen being a student at your campus as an investment, something that is valuable enough to either, personal finances—going out and fundraising in a variety of different ways because they see the value in that. The question, I think, that we have as—in higher education and particularly in international education are we positioning global education as this is an investment? And this goes back to a comment that was made a little bit earlier about, hey, you know what, we’re sending these students abroad. They’re not really engaging with the populations. It’s kind of like it’s just vacation. OK. Well, if I’m a serious student and I’m concerned about finances, and I have to make choices about what I invest in, if study abroad is positioned as, you know, go have fun abroad I’ll say, well, listen, I’ll go on vacation at another point in my life. I’m focused on getting in school, doing the kind of things that’s going to position me to be able to thrive, support family, and otherwise. So in education abroad and study abroad, the onus is on us to make sure that the way we’re talking about these opportunities, the way that opportunities are actually taking place, is such that a student that has to make that decision looks at study abroad or other global opportunities and says, you know what, this is where I want to invest my time, my resources, and otherwise because this is something that’s going to help me continue to grow with the broader goals that I have. CASA: Our next question comes from Maggie Mahoney, director of global engagement at the University of Houston. Q: Good afternoon, Maria and Andrew. Nice to talk with you. Hello from Houston, Texas. Andrew, my question is about our teams, because we want to bring the best of our teams to our students. We know that burnout is an ongoing issue. We’ve had the pandemic. We’ve had the murder of George Floyd that kind of shifted things even more for the bigger focus of DEI and that has become exhausting, not to mention in Texas we face our own Texas state issues and now inflation changing. So there’s a lot of stress on our teams, and in institutions of higher ed we should have offices that mirror the diversity of our students. But we don’t always have that. Do you have any recommendations for our diverse staff team members and their self care in the face of this burnout and too often being turned to in the support of DEI efforts whenever we should all be doing the work? And do you have any recommendations for team leaders on how to continue doing our work while supporting our diverse team members, as we know they’re overwhelmed? GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that comment. And that’s—I think a very important point is that we can’t ignore—when we think of—we think of some of the organizations that we’ve looked AT and say, hey, these are great companies or great organizations that I’ll support. The folks who are at the table many times come from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and in international education if we want the work that we do to have the kind of impact, we want to make sure that we’re drawing the best and brightest, most diverse folks that say, hey, higher education, international education, specifically, this is a place where I want to go work. Our faculty members who may potentially be leading programs abroad, there’s a lot that our faculty members can be doing over the summer when we say, you know what, I want to lead a study abroad program because this is—not only the impact this could have on students, but I know I’m going to be supported by the international office and otherwise as I’m going abroad. So what I would say is a couple of things. One is from a team leader perspective, and I think what you pointed out being something that is really a very salient topic. You know, DEI work cannot fall on folks of color or folks who we look at and say, OK, well, you represent XYZ identity so, yes, diversity worked for you. All that does, as stated, is it leads to burnout and it doesn’t lead to us moving the needle. So, organizationally, are the practices or the policies in place. So, operationally, DEI is just embedded into what we do and regardless of what your role is, the DEI tasks that are there, is there for you to do. So regardless of what your background is, whatever the DEI tasks are connected to your role, those are there for you to be able to do. And so that’d be one aspect of it, really looking operationally from that perspective. But then another question is asking ourselves whether it’s at the department level within an office, like a global education office or whatever it may be, are we building a climate of belonging. Are we building a climate where our staff that come from historically marginalized backgrounds feel like, hey, we can come—we can come here. We can be ourselves. When we’re having challenges we’re being supported and otherwise because, again, then we’re able to be able to do the work that’s needed to increase participation in global educational opportunities, being able to work with the faculty members to think through how do we better embed global themes into the curriculum, being able to support our international students. Which is saying none of this happens automatically. It is run by people, on people power, and we’ve got to take care of our people. If we don’t take care of our people, all the other things that we want to do, ultimately, we won’t be as successful as we’d like. CASA: We have a question now from Professor Waldron-Moore from Xavier. She says—she asks, how can we generate interest in study abroad from the classroom? Shouldn’t we address seriously ways to motivate students to learn more about diversity in order to raise their awareness about higher education? We need to get the excitement about other countries and people going before we grow an interest in study abroad or a study exchange. GORDON: Yeah. So that’s—I would say it’s not an either/or but I would say they very much work in tandem. So the more—and to the point, the more that we—the more that global themes are presented to our students, the more interest that will start to generate with our students. If you have a population of students that from the time they set foot on campus they know they’re going to study abroad and so and so forth, that’s great. We want those students. But you have another population of students who maybe that’s not the case, and so how are we embedding global themes into the curriculum regardless of what our fields may be? What are—are we finding opportunities to embed global themes into the curriculum so that, one, we’re helping to promote the idea of there’s a lot to learn outside of the shores of the U.S. as well, but, two, for our students—and every student’s not going to study abroad. For our students who aren’t going abroad are we finding opportunities to ensure that they still have access to global learning themes within the classroom. And so they very much play off each other, and I will say that now much more so for the students who, ultimately, decide not to participate in a study abroad or a formal study abroad program it’s an opportunity for them to still get access to global learning opportunities. But I will say—one other thing I want to bring up and I started bringing this up in my earlier comments, I think when we’re thinking about global education and diversity, equity, and inclusion, definitely thinking of it through, say, two lenses. One is the lens of what we’ve primarily been talking about of how are we supporting our historically marginalized students, supporting our staff and our faculty, our people, as they’re engaged in global education, and that many times, again, are folks in historically marginalized populations. But when we think about learning global DEI competencies, all of our students need to access that. DEI is not just populations to support or competencies to be learned—to learn. So inside the classroom, when they’re participating in study abroad or otherwise, are we thinking through how we position our students to learn the kind of competencies that can position them to be better citizens, to be better—that much more thriving in their professional careers and otherwise. And, again, that takes place—many times that takes place in the classroom. CASA: Our next question is also written and comes from Wendy Kuran, associate vice president for development and alumni engagement at Duke Kunshan University. Actually, she has two questions. The first is, following up on the earlier question and Andrew’s great answer, is the career and self-development value proposition of study abroad clear to diverse students? Is there credible, accessible research about the value? What could we, at universities, including students, do to help make that case in new ways more effectively? And the second shorter question, do you ever work in secondary education intercultural exchange programs and, if not, are those in your ecosystems? Are there those in your ecosystems who do? GORDON: Yeah. So I’ll start with the second question first. We work with some secondary institutions and organizations that support secondary students at that level. I would not say that that has been the traditional group of professionals or organizations or institutions that have come to us. But we are seeing some growing traction there. So I’m always interested in connecting with folks who have interest with that. With respect to career, I would say there are definitely institutions who have been at the forefront of centering the connection between global education and career, and I think as the field of global education that’s work that’s improving. But there’s still work to do, I think, particularly for being able to make the case for students who, for a variety of reasons may be hesitant about study abroad. What we find in engaging with students, yes, research is important. Using more factoids are important. Firsthand experiences being important of students who embody similar identities and otherwise that can say, I had this kind of experience. I went from point A to point B to point Z. I know when I’ve had an opportunity to go to campuses and speak and otherwise telling a little bit about my own personal trajectory from doing accounting consulting to becoming an entrepreneur and otherwise and how study abroad impacted that, that’s one of the things that attract students is really wanting to understand, OK, you look like me. You had a similar experience. How did you do that? So which is to say particularly with that—the part of your question asking about historically marginalized student populations, are we telling the stories of success? Are we telling the stories of how our students from historically marginalized backgrounds have been able to leverage global opportunities to advance in their career? For them to be able to say very concretely, I had this experience and then I’m working in this job and this is how this experience helped me and so on so forth. Again, that is intentional work, yes, by our global education offices but also, frankly, in collaboration with our career centers, our offices that are doing career development on campus. How are we working with them to be able to bring them back to connect with the students, the alum, and otherwise to be able to tell those stories, which, again, is part of the broader ecosystem of what does engagement look like to be able to increase participation and the success of students who are interested in study abroad? CASA: Have you been able to develop dedicated assessment and evaluation tools for success or gauging the success or the results of study abroad programs? GORDON: So we, ourselves, have not. There are some tools out there and some studies that are out there. Gosh, I’m trying to think of his name right now at the University of Georgia. There was a study in the early kind of 2000s called the Glossary Study. It was just recently built—they built upon that with a new study that showed the connection between academic success. I wouldn’t say that for me, I’m familiar with a survey or research that goes as deep on the career success aspect of it. But I know there are some resources out there that talk deeper about the connection between career development and—study abroad and career development. CASA: And do you have thoughts on how global education and study abroad contribute to U.S. foreign policy creation and international relations? GORDON: Yeah. Well, in part, I mean, I think there’s an aspect of just civics that’s connected to every time you get on a plane, you travel, and you flash that green—I always say green—that blue passport, why is that so easy? Because even being able to understand the ability that you have to travel to the vast majority of the world without having a visa, without—and, frankly, other countries aren’t able to do that. So almost, certainly, encourage deeper appreciation for the privilege that we have as U.S. citizens, being able to travel as freely as we do for most of the world, but also being able to engage, I think, for students of—U.S. students to be able to engage in other populations, hear their perspective. You know, sometimes there’s perspectives that are critical to the U.S. Sometimes there are perspectives that are wildly in love with the U.S., and that’s great. It’s important to hear all of that, to hear how you’re perceived, and then you bring that back home with you. Now you’re thinking about your role as a citizen, what that does to you to be able to understand positionality of the U.S. and the rest of the world and what role that you personally want to take with that. And so I—and I guess I say for myself having a deeper appreciation for the, frankly, benefits of being a U.S. citizen by traveling and having had the opportunity to travel as much as I do and interact with folks all over the world. And so I think for all of our populations I think the populations that maybe haven’t been as civically engaged or as deeply civically engaged it creates that many more opportunities to have that appreciation for. CASA: Yes. GORDON: And then, frankly, just people-to-people. I would just say—this is the last thing I’ll say. It’s funny, I mean—I mean, people-to-people exchanges, what they say it’s hard to hate someone you know. (Laughs.) I mean, it’s true. I mean, and I think that it’s easy to turn on the news and hear XYZ about any number of people and locations in the world. I think when you sit down you break bread and you have coffee, whatever it may be, with folks from other parts of the world it does develop, I think, a deeper appreciation, really helping push us down that road of embracing difference and, I think, developing a deeper empathy, which we could all use more of that. CASA: Great. Well, we’ve come to the end of our time and, Andrew, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, and to all of you for your questions and comments. You can follow Diversity Abroad on Twitter at @DiversityAbroad. You will be receiving an invitation to our next Higher Education webinar under separate cover. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow at @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. I hope you’re all having a great summer, and thank you again for joining us today. We look forward to your continued participation in the Higher Education Webinar Series. (END)


Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, leads a conversation on the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Tony Allen with us today to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Dr. Allen is president of Delaware State University. Previously, he served as the university’s executive vice president and provost. In 2021, Dr. Allen was appointed by President Biden to chair the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And he also served as CEO of Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to his time at Delaware State University, he worked at the Bank of America for thirteen years, where he developed and led the Corporate Reputation Group. And he is the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, and chair emeritus of the National Urban Fellows. So, Tony, thank you very much for being with us today. I want to just turn it over to you to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in higher education in the United States historically and today. ALLEN: Thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be with all of you, certainly with the Council on Foreign Relations. I just want to start—personally, I am a first-generation college student, and my mother was a teenage mom and my father never finished the eleventh grade. So being able to be in this role means a lot to me from a proximity standpoint, and really being able to guide one of the nation’s leading HBCUs is really the professional dream of my life. So I take this very personally, in addition to trying to run a great institution. With respect to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, we are almost at 175 years in existence. I don’t think I need to tell anybody on the phone that we were started for some very specific reasons as it related to higher education access for African American students, but we have really become a powerhouse, a force not only in the African American community but in the broader citizenry at large. There are only 3 percent of Historically Black—excuse me, there are three thousand colleges and universities in the country; only 3 percent are historically Black colleges. Only 3 percent. But even today, we still produce 20 percent of all Black graduates. So just think about that for a moment, the power of our return on investment across many, many disciplines. You may have heard these numbers, but 80 percent of Black judges and lawyers start out in an HBCU. More than 50 percent of all Black doctors started at an HBCU. Forty percent of Black congressmen today started at an HBCU. And the number-one driver for lower-income African American people to get into the American middle class today is still their attendance at a Historically Black College or University. So the real power and frame of our institutions are significant, but our voices over the years have been quieter. We don’t have the same kinds of profile. A lot of it has to do with the fact that many of us are still low-resource institutions, even though we’re providing great value to the students that come here. Since the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others during that summer of 2020, we’ve actually seen our profile grow significantly. We’ve tried to take advantage of that to tell the HBCU story in a much richer way than we had been able to do in the past, and we think that’s had some significant merit. I can tell you when we think about COVID-19 we say that one pandemic—COVID-19 itself—exposed another, which is continuing: race relations in America. And when I thought about it this time around—we’ve had these kinds of experiences as it relates to public safety, interaction with police for a long, long time here—but this felt like the first time that so many folks were watching the same thing. So regardless of where you come from or what you look like, you could not turn your eyes away from some of the tragic incidents we saw in that summer. And I think that has people thinking in a much more deliberate and different way. Couple that with what we’ve seen with respect to the elections that ensued, the political unrest that came after that, we find ourselves in a place where Historically Black Colleges and Universities are becoming a real sign—true sign of opportunity for folks, again regardless of what you look like or where you come from, that are otherwise underserved or locked out of the education system. There are 101 of them. Some of you will know what I’d say are the usual suspects: the Howard Universities of the world, the Morehouse, the Spelman, North Carolina A&T, FAMU. But there are 101 across the country. We spend our time not only providing the type of quality education that our students deserve, but also being engines of social justice and change, and research for that matter. So our ability to look through a lens with respect to research, regardless of discipline, is unique in the space because we’re able to come from a place where we are trying to understand the forces and phenomena of the world, and often how those forces and phenomena disproportionately affect people who don’t have as much as others. We take great pride in that as well. I also would like to talk a little bit about the communities we find ourselves in. You usually find an HBCU adjacent to or very much in a low-resource community. What that means for that community is that they are an economic engine for that community. The 101 HBCUs at last look contributed more than $14 billion collectively to the gross domestic product in the country. So we’re not just educational institutions, but real forces of economic opportunity and growth as well. I like to say I think we are the best return on value in the higher-education landscape because of who we prepare. So many of our students are first-generation college students like me. More than three-quarters of them are Pell Grant-eligible, which I think you know is a low-income standard. And we are changing the trajectory of their lives and their family’s lives. So being able to spend time thinking through what that means not only as it relates to opening economic doors of opportunity for them, but also giving them this notion that it’s not simply enough to graduate, get a great job; you also have to give back as you’ve been given, too, which is a theme I’d say across the HBCU landscape. I think it’s why you find so many African American leaders in this country across disciplines, as I mentioned, having gotten their start at an HBCU, because there is this ethic of service that really threads the needle across the HBCU landscape. Having said that, you heard my role as chair of the Board of Advisors for the president on HBCUs. That board has been around since 1976, really started under President Carter. And there has been an executive order issued each year to make sure that the White House initiative on HBCUs gets its attention and the board helps serve a role of guidance and oversight. Let me give you a sense of the four priorities we are just beginning to outline in that role. As you know, we just named the full council about two weeks ago, and we are thinking about four things that we really want to focus on. First is infrastructure. At HBCUs there’s a systemic disparity between HBCUs and other similarly situated universities who are predominantly white. That has a lot to do with the fact that we were not always able to, and in some cases still don’t, get equitable funding for our living and learning spaces. So while we’re able to provide the quality education, we want the environment to look like the quality education that our students are receiving. That’s particularly important for any number of reasons, most notably our ability to attract and retain our students over the long term as well as some faculty and staff when you think about the learning spaces as it relates to laboratory and research. Being able to have first-class operations there really sends a message about our—how serious we are about creating the right environment. Second is the opportunity for us to access more partnerships and, quite frankly, dollars from the federal government by really being able to engage in a thoughtful way with those institutions. Many of those institutions, as you know, provide research grants and other support to many institutions—higher-education institutions throughout the country. We want to make sure that we’re getting our fair share of that as well. Some of you probably know that there are three research classifications put out by Carnegie: research 1, research 2, and research 3. Research 1 is the highest, and there are no HBCUs that have cracked that threshold of research 1. That’s important, as well. As I said, lots of the research we do crosses any number of disciplines, but when you’re thinking about building capacity for the longer term you do want to have a few, I would say, comprehensive research 1 HBCUs. That’s a bit priority, I know, for the president, and certainly has been and will be for the council. And it’s a growing movement that folks are just beginning to talk about in a real thoughtful and focused way. The third is more support for low-resource students. We’ve had some progress, actually, on that score. There have been some increases in Pell. In the president’s budget, in fact, there’s a $2,100 increase. That has a lot of significance for continuing to retain our students. I can tell you on any number of occasions the number-one factor, particularly for low-resource students, is their ability to continue to pay. And some of that is significantly reduced from a burden perspective by scholarships and the like, but oftentimes even those small dollars—things we might think of as small dollars—are really significant dollars not only to their students, but to their families. So having more opportunities for tuition support in particular is critical. And then the last one is focusing on the smaller HBCUs in our space. So, like I said, you have historically heard of the more notable HBCUs—as I said, Howard University, Morehouse, Spelman, et cetera—but there are a subset of smaller HBCUs that are delivering first-class quality education that need our attention and support. I say that to my HBCU colleagues as much as I do to anybody else. When one of us is uplifted, we all need to figure out a way to uplift everyone else. And that’s important now more than ever because there’s been such an attention on the HBCU community. So I’ve probably talked too much, but—(laughs)—just as an opening salvo just wanted to give you a sense of the scale, the importance, and the ongoing impact of the HBCU community. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Tony. That was really terrific. We’re going to go now to all of you for questions and comments. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome. Q: Thank you very much. HBCUs are very important. I’m from Brooklyn College. I teach political science. But you know, and I think they punch way above their weight, but there’s a persistent underfunding of HBCUs. So what will it take for these institutions to be funded well enough so that they can do the good job that they are doing with less stress and more excellence? ALLEN: Great question. Two responses. First, under the Biden administration, since he took office, HBCUs have received about $5.8 billion in additional incremental support. A lot has to do with COVID for sure. And we, like most colleges and universities, were significantly impacted from a revenue standpoint with respect to COVID. But that historic funding is an important first step. I always say it’s a first step, it’s not the only step, because I think to your question relative to sustainability of our institutions it is critical that we have deeper, more significant, and sustained partnerships, I’d say particularly with the federal government. As I said, there are lots of opportunities for us to do good work there. We’ve made some good progress at Delaware State with the USDA, who has increased their funding significantly this year and in years prior. We just completed a memorandum of understanding with USAID last fall and we expect that to have some meritorious results too. We all have relationships with the likes of NIH and NSF, but not—certainly not enough. So really having a sustained effort that folks can goal against. So if you are in a specific department relative to your engagement with HBCUs, we are making that a priority. The president has already done that himself; just our responsibility to make sure that folks are following through. So that’s first order of business. Second, there are some unique partnerships that have emerged, again, in the wake of summer 2020. So there have been a significant onslaught of support for HBCUs. But what I have tried to do, at least from a Delaware State perspective, is create unique opportunities for that funding to not be one time. Case in point, we’ve gotten a couple million dollars from two major banks in the country. And instead of simply being able to use that for ongoing scholarship support or other needs that we have at the university, we built a career pathways program that is really allowing us to access a number of employers who want to engage with HBCUs but just don’t know how. And that is creating a new pipeline. Not only is it going to help us with respect to placing our students, we actually think it’s a significant benefit to the companies themselves in both the cases. And one was Bank of America and one was JPMorgan Chase. Their funding has actually been catalytic in encouraging more corporate partners to take a look at HBCUs. And we think that is really, really important. FASKIANOS: Great. Next, written question from Robert Ford, who’s retired from Southern University, Dillard, FVSU and Texas Southern University. And he went to Southern University Baton Rouge. He didn’t hear anything about international development, especially Africa. Does your university have an international footprint? And does the HBCU White House initiative have an international program initiative? What progress can be cited? ALLEN: Yeah, before I answer that question, I just want to shoutout every HBCU you mentioned. They’re all terrific—Southern, Dillard, I think you said Fort Valley State, and Texas Southern University. Incredible HBCUs in their own way. With respect to my institution here at Delaware State, we actually have a Center for Global Africa. We started that Center four years ago now, run by a professor named Ezrah Aharone. And the idea is for us to push much of our curriculum and study to not only the African continent, but the African diaspora. So we see there are lots of opportunities for that to emerge. We’ve created some significant partnerships with the African Union and the like on that score. And I can tell you there are—I’m just mentioning the institutions that we’re more close to, but there are a number of HBCUs that are doing similar situations on the continent and in the diaspora. Most notably is Morgan State University led by President David Wilson. And I think, as we continue to gain profile and momentum, I think you’ll see us internationally across the world in a much more clear and concerted effort. At Delaware State we actually have been on mainland China for seven years, having exported three programs there. One in accounting, one in physics, and one in sports management. And the interesting thing about that, in each of those programs, three different universities, 98 percent of those students are first-generation college students. So we have stayed true to our mission as we’ve gone international. We have some similar programs in Jamaica and Costa Rica as well. So we’re building capacity to make sure that we can take the HBCU experience across the continent. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Susan King, who has raised her hand. Q: Let me just ask you—I’m at UNC, so I have a great interest in Howard and the new center at Howard that Nikole Hannah-Jones is doing, partly because she’s not coming with us. How will that benefit all the HBCUs, do you think? ALLEN: That’s so funny. Her team has reached out to me, I think it was just last week, to talk about the Center for Journalism and how she wants to extend opportunities for aspiring Black journalists in particular at HBCUs, but also wants to help tell the HBCU story in a much more comprehensive way. So I can’t wait to spend time with her, and hopefully leverage her tremendous talent in doing that. I have said on many occasions, HBCUs have a great story, but we do not have enough storytellers. So being able to demystify what it has been that has really built a leadership talent pipeline, and the economic opportunity pipeline, for so many low-resource folks who are now leaders in our country, is a story that deserves its time in the sun. And we as presidents, my colleagues and I, have to be much more deliberate about that in our ongoing work. I’m hoping that the board of advisors and things like Professor Jones’ Center, gives us the kind of elevation we need so we can have other partners, like the Council on Foreign Relations, help us sustain that moment where we find ourselves. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. And I’m going to take the prerogative of the moderator. I mean, we here at CFR are very much committed to diversity and looking at the pipeline for—into the foreign policy track. So what are the things that you’re doing, that HBCUs are doing? And what could we be doing at CFR to help the next generation of leaders, graduates from HBCUs, get into diplomacy and State Department and just into this field? ALLEN: So, great, thank you for making that point. Here’s what I would say—and this is not to you, but just to the broader community. First job is to show up. I have been—particularly in the corporate side, I find myself in a lot of corporate circles where CEOs are always saying, hey, we wish we could find more Black talent. We just can’t find them. And normally what I say is, you’re not looking hard enough. As I said, we’re producing over three hundred thousand Black graduates every year. And that’s just HBCUs. I haven’t talked about historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. I have not talked about special associations that find themselves in respective disciplines. We are out here. And in the case of the Council in particular, and my students don’t often think first about international development or diplomacy. And the way to get to have that sense is to be in conversation, regular conversations, with organizations like yours. A great example is we were able to bring the director of USAID, as I said to sign the MOU last fall. She talked about, first of all the largess of that institution, the number of critical opportunities that she would have across the organization. And you could see, our students just lit up because they didn’t know. That wasn’t their—weren’t their first thoughts. The other thing I’d say is the more we’ve been doing this more and more, particularly at Delaware State but at HBCUs across the country, are creating more international opportunities. Remember, because we have so many first-generation college students, oftentimes that means those students are first-generation in many things. So they might not have gotten on a plane, might not have had the same dinner conversations that more well-suited families had when they were sitting down for dinner, and that sort of thing. So it behooves us to make sure that we come to them, and we come to them early. The pipeline program that I talked about with you effectively says: If you want to be with Delaware State over the long term, don’t show up in our—in a student’s rising junior or rising senior year, looking for the best in class in our institution. Show up for the moment they come to the institution. So we’re creating a new kind of mentor network and opportunity so those students can learn what’s available to them, the institutions themselves can get a sense of the quality of our students, and they can have the kind of conversations they might not have their first day on the internship or their first day on the job, having not been in that environment or not been connected to that environment previously. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And there’s a nice note from Laurette Foster at Prairie View A&M University. So she’s at the HBCU Faculty Network. Thank you for your institution coming on board with the HBCU Faculty Development Network. And she says, we’re one of their great supporters. And that’s because of Laurette. So we usually go out to their annual conference in October to—in the fall, to present on CFR resources. And, we are looking for more opportunities like that with different networks to sort of connect, and talk, and sort of make connections so that we can start feeding that pipeline. I’m going to go next to Jill Humphries, who’s raised her hand. You can unmute yourself. Thank you. Q: Hello. Thank you. First of all, I want to say, both of my questions—primary questions were asked—(laughs)—about the institutional pipeline for diplomacy and then also the way in which HBCUs are particularly going to be involved in national development. But so I’ll ask this question. I’ve been an education exchange professor several times in several African countries. And when I’ve interfaced with the embassies there, and they talk about opportunities for, in this particular context, African students coming to study in the U.S., and they give their presentations, they’ve always left off HBCUs. And I’ve had to, in fact, remind them—even though I’m teaching at University of Toledo in the African Studies Department. So I am actually interesting in the way in which you’ve, at an institutional level, addressed this issue of whether it’s just benign oversight of when the public affairs officers at our embassies, wherever they are in the world, talk about exchange—educational exchange opportunities—there are so many under the ECA, Department of State’s ECA Bureau—that they include HBCUs. And then the other part of that is, how do you see the particular way in which HBCUs or, more specifically Black thought—Black political thought—may in fact influence our foreign affairs and diplomacy approach, particularly in Africa. Is there a unique, particular perspective that we bring, as African American or Black diaspora, in these arenas? ALLEN: Well, the short answer is, yes. (Laughs.) To your last question. And I don’t limit that to products of HBCUs, necessarily, but I do think Black political thought generally speaking across the globe is important contextually for a couple of reason. One, the way in which Black Americans, in particular, have had to navigate the landscape here now for hundreds of years is an important lesson in perseverance, context, the framework of what I’d say classism, certainly sometimes racism is systemic in its effort, as well as sexism, which I think shows up particularly for Black women regularly as well. The second part about that is as these things are happening across the world, I think our position relative to being able to influence is critical. This is an American point I’m going to make, but just remember—and this is no commercial for the president—but at the time that President Biden was running and the campaign was suffering mightily, there was a Black man in South Carolina, proud HBCU grad, Congressman Jim Clyburn who said: I know Joe Biden, and Joe Biden knows us. And it changed the state of his election. Talks significantly about our power bloc when we operationalize that. We don’t always do that in the American context, but when we do it’s clear and compelling. And I think I won’t go over the events that happened as a result of that. The other point, I think your first question was just about how folks engage with HBCUs more clearly in the international space. It does really come down to two things. One, we think HBCU leaders like myself have to be much more concerted and thoughtful about where we see the opportunities. When you’re in a low-resource institution, a number of things come up that can take you away from building capacity for your institution. So you have to be deliberate about it. It’s one of the reasons I think the advisory board has had many iterations but this, in particular because of the moment, I think will put us in some positions that we have not seen before. You may know that—I believe it’s in every federal department now—but the president is making it a point to have racial equity as a priority, and a person that’s in charge of that. So I think you’re going to see more opportunities there. I have not talked to as many federal government officials ever in my career as I have during this administration, because there’s a clear priority on it. But that is our job, to make sure that we’re telling that story, as I’ve said before. Then I think the unique programs, particularly as it relates to international exchange, we talk a lot about students. I would make sure that we spend equal time trying to export our intellectual capital in our faculty too. They need the opportunities themselves. Many times have the expertise and more often than not, in my case, have unique partnerships in country because they’re—sometimes they’re from a set country. So being able to give them that support I think will have significant long-term results. But we have to be concerted in how we position all of it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Ambassador June Carter Perry, formerly of the State Department, retired, and former diplomat in residence at Howard University, and currently a board member at American Diplomacy Publishers in Chapel Hill. What is your relationship with national universities’ African American programs, such as the one at Princeton directed by Dr. Eddie Glaude? ALLEN: I don’t have direct contact with Dr. Glaude. I’m aware of his work, but I don’t have direct contact there. I can tell you, and this could be a conversation for us, we have not been as concerted in developing those partnerships with national universities that have African American programs. Some of it has just to do with making sure that we’re elevating our voice in the conversation. And a lot of it is just historic stuff, I’d say. (Laughs.) And I know that’s not an academic word, but I’d say historic stuff between larger predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and HBCUs, particularly those who are in near proximity one to another. Sometimes limits our ability to be more thoughtful about those kinds of partnerships and collaboration. That’s no excuse. I just think that’s the reality. What we do—how we do partner, particularly in the STEM disciplines, I think is more—is becoming more and more significant. For the first time, we got a—I think it’s a $10 million grant several years ago in partnership with the PWI up the street from us, University of Delaware, and it was the first time we were the lead partner in the grant. And that sends a lot of messages to my faculty and the importance of what they can do, and how they can lead really big grants. I think you’re beginning to see some of those partnerships emerge too across the landscape. So doing more on that score in disciplines that are not specific to African American programs I think is important. And certainly, really engaging thoughtfully with those institutions who are serious about the African American studies discipline is certainly important to us, but not near what we should be doing in this space. FASKIANOS: Thanks, Tony. You referenced this a bit in your remarks, but can you talk about how the pandemic affected HBCUs, and how you’re coming out of it? ALLEN: Yeah. I was reluctant to tell this story because I feel like I’ve told it a hundred times, but like other universities we sent our kids home in the March timeframe—all but about two hundred, because those two hundred were otherwise homeless without Delaware State University, literally. We knew that was, one, a proxy for some of the students we actually had sent home who were from very vulnerable situations, but we knew we had to keep at least those two hundred. That was significant for a couple of reasons. And this before any funding came our way—CARES Act, American Rescue Plan. We just used our own coffers to make sure that they were fed, that they were not getting anything, with respect to academic continuity that that was progressing nicely. In some cases we were sending money to them for them to send home. What it was, was an opportunity for us to say—and we knew it deep down, but it was clear—that our students are coming to these institutions not just for the quote/unquote “college experience.” They’re trying to change their—largely, the economic trajectory for themselves, their families, and their communities. And it’s not easy. So our ability to get our students back on campus was the first order of business, and to do that quickly. We were able to develop a program with a place called Testing for America, which helped us develop our protocol, paid for all our tests for about two years, and allowed us to bring our students back right at the fall of 2020, and keep them safe throughout that time. So we’re testing faculty, staff, and students three times a week, at that time. We were doing—aggressively, had really strong protocols, and had a less than 1 percent positivity rate on our campus, which we take great pride—took great pride in then, and take great pride in now. What I’d say for the broader HBCU community, we were fortunate. Some of my other colleagues weren’t as fortunate relative to being able to bring their students back quickly. A lot hangs on the fact that we don’t have major endowments. The resources, let’s say, like I said before, are often low as compared to our predominantly white peers. So it is significant. And the problem is that if you’re not able to keep the academic continuity for many of my students, they will not come back. And we just couldn’t accept that. What I can say though is many in the HBCU community did pretty well based on these notions—that they knew who their students were, that they knew they were going to have to deliver something extra that was not foreign to them—sort of classic wraparound services that we already are known for, but to up that game wherever they found themselves, I think, was important for our own students’ survival. And I think what you’ve seen, you’ve seen this generally at HBCU communities, certainly in Delaware State, our retention rates increased. Our graduation rates were up. And equally important, because of the summer of 2020, in many cases in the world HBCU’s enrollment has gone up, and students have taken a look at HBCUs, what that means for sort of their own cultural identity, and how they want to contribute to the world. And they’re choosing us in a much different way than they had been even five, ten years ago. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go to Jennifer Brinkerhoff. She doesn’t really have a question, but you might want to—if you want to just talk a little bit about your book. Q: Yes. I’m not sure, can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. ALLEN: Yes. Q: Awesome. Thank you so much. So we would be very pleased to engage with folks from HBCUs around a new book that I had the privilege of working on with Aaron Williams and Taylor Jack. Aaron Williams is retired USAID and was a sector leader in international affairs in the nonprofit sector of government and the private sector. And this was his legacy upon retirement, was to engage his peers, his colleagues, all of the giants who went before, to be able to collect advice and guideposts to the next generation of young Black leaders who were interested in international affairs. So we would love to share that material with you, and with support from the Hewlett Foundation we are able to engage in some related events and provide copies of the book. So I can put my email address in the chat, but we’re very much interested in the intergenerational dialogue that this book represents, because we really believe that this is what the next generation needs, is to learn from those of you who went before and have succeeded, and know better than anybody else what the challenges are and how best to navigate them. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this important work, and I hope that we can partner together. Thank you. ALLEN: Hey, Jen, let me—let me just say quickly, I saw this question earlier. I already taped it—I mean, copied it and emailed it to myself before you—(laughs)—before you talked. So I do want to talk to you, one. And then there is our chair of political science, economic development and international affairs, Dr. Donna Patterson, who will be a great point of contact for you. So please put your email in the chat and I’ll send you a note. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And if we could be sure we send it—and Jennifer you’re at George Washington University, correct? Q: Yes, I am at GW, yeah. FASKIANOS: Great. And Pearl Robinson of Tufts has put in the chat, what’s the title of the book? And the title of the book is The Young Black Leader’s Guide to a Successful Career in International Affairs. It’s in the Q&A, so you can get the link there. All right. So if others have questions, please raise your hand. I’m going to call upon President Verret to ask a question. I’m putting him on the spot, but. Q: Thanks for putting me on the spot. I guess the question that I would ask is also about the Americans—the nation's talent needed—from a national security perspective, also from an economic perspective, the talent that is needed to actually drive the American economy, drive America’s leadership position. And as the United States is becoming essentially majority-minority, can the United States—how important is it that we develop the talent that is in our underrepresented populations in order to sustain America’s leadership? ALLEN: Yeah. Well, Mr. President, I’m sure you know the answer to that question. (Laughs.) It’s critical. It’s absolutely critical. And like I said—as you all know, we find ourselves looking at work and the future of work in a much different way than I imagine any of us thought possible at this pace that we’re moving. Effectively, it’s to say that we are training students for jobs that have not yet been invented. So how we do that relative to their ability to analyze critically, write in a way that not only is clear but is compelling with respect to how they tell stories, be creative in the ways in which they want to engage in the world, and how they think about themselves as citizens. It couldn’t be more important. And I’d say, particularly in the African American communities and other communities of color, it’s critical relative to the future of those communities. As I said—and you know this—that the contributions of HBCUs, just as one example from an economic development standpoint, are substantive, but they represent a proxy for much broader contribution from communities of color throughout this country. And, we’ve seen some symbols just recently. If you look at the president’s Cabinet, the most diverse cabinet in the history of the United States. Obviously, I know many of you probably saw the hearings for soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson—and you saw the good and bad of that and what that might portend for our own civility in this country. So I get up every day thinking about the fact that I have a lot of students whose life circumstances are changing because of Delaware State, and in so doing—at least in part—in so doing they have to be a part of the solution for really salvaging our democracy. So that is not just your new engineer or your new political scientist or your new accountant or banker, you have to be really apart of this process if we want to get it right. So I appreciate the question, and I know you all know just how important it is not only in the American context, but around the globe. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m just going to take another question from Xavier University of Louisiana. We just heard from the president, but now from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who’s on the political science and international relations faculty. Q: I’ve taken my role of internationalizing our students very seriously. Many of my department’s graduates have gone on to be Foreign Service Officers thanks to the Rangel and Pickering Fellowships made available to them. Today many have lost interest in international service seeing their service and diplomacy more as tokens than as valued for their intellectual capital. Fewer are interested in pursuing international diplomacy. What encouragement can you give international faculty who recognize the importance of Black students representing the Black story? ALLEN: Well, first of all, it’s a great question, and international development is not the only space where folks check a box on the number of students of color they might have in a program. And that’s problematic for all the reasons you outlined. Some of the things we’re doing, again with our Career Pathways programming, is suggesting that the institutions that we’re working with think of doing business with us in cohorts. So it’s not just the one person that got the one opportunity, and then nothing else happens. But you build capacity for four or five, eight or ten students to get a similar situated opportunity, where they can lean on each other but also see faces that look like them and can be encouraging in that way. That’s one. Second is the institutions themselves have to really look at their own pipelines for senior leadership, which is really challenging. So it’s not just that you can find the young Black or brown—the new young Black or brown talent out there, but does your organization look like the community you serve up and down that organization? And that’s a little bit of—has been my struggle in trying to provide some advice and counsel to institutional leaders who are really serious about this business because it does take some bold leadership—looking in places you had not looked before, opening doors you might not have otherwise seen, and then recognizing that if you do that, your pipeline will grow as a result because those students will see the institution as serious about the issue. So I would say don’t give up. I would say press harder. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So next question from Dr. Todd Barry, professor at Hudson County Community College. How far north geographically do HBCUs go? And he hails from Connecticut. ALLEN: (Laughs.) I’m only laughing because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that question before. But I’m pretty North, actually. Most of the HBCUs are in the Southeast—not all of them, but most of them. The northern most, I guess, would be Cheyney University, the first one. There are two in Pennsylvania—Cheyney University and Lincoln. Lincoln is basically the second—though they will fight over that reputation. (Laughs.) And they are about 20 minutes from each other, and then I am about an hour and ten (minutes) from them, so the northern most are really Cheyney and Lincoln. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next? Any other questions? I want to just say that next week we are hosting an in-person workshop in New York for college and university professors on the 28th and 29th of April, and we have several professors from HBCUs, which we’re really excited about. But if you want to send any more our way—(laughs)—we would welcome it. The other thing that we do every year is we host a Conference on Diversity in International Affairs. So it’s a collaboration that CFR does with the Global Access Pipeline and International Career Advancement Program, and the dates of that are May 20—let’s see, I think 24 and 25. And we have students come for that, and it’s great professional development. So hopefully if those of you on the call want your students to come—sorry, May 25 and 26—I was off by a day—if any of you want your students to come, we would love to have them. That takes place in D.C. OK. So I’m just looking for any other questions? The other thing I would love for you to talk a little bit—you mentioned your emphasis now on partnerships with government and getting more support from the federal government, but your background, you also had a corporate background. ALLEN: Mm-hmm. FASKIANOS: So how have you in your position—how have HBCUs traditionally leveraged corporate and industry partnerships to build awareness and foster engagement? And what are you specifically doing given your background in that space, thirteen years that you’ve spent? ALLEN: That’s actually—I shouldn’t say it this way, but that has not been as challenging. I think the corporate community, and recently in particular, they’ve showed up in a pretty thoughtful way on balance, on balance, d I don’t just mean in Delaware State, but I think at institutions across the country. The one caveat to that is that fourth priority I mentioned, which is sometimes our smaller HBCUs are left out of that equation because folks don’t know the whole story—that there are 101 of them, that they cut across any number of disciplines, that they’re all doing really high-quality work. So being able to, as I said, build the profile of HBCUs is important. With respect to what we’ve been able to do, we’ve had some significant really record-breaking fundraising over the last two years with the corporate community, and the idea has cut across a number of opportunities for us. One is that catalytic engine I just mentioned, without JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America we wouldn’t have forty other corporate partners who really want to be doing business with us in a much different way than they have in the past. And then the emerging opportunities, there’s an organization called Propel [Center] out of Atlanta. If you don’t know that one, you should. It’s largely funded by a Southern Company and Apple, and it’s all a part of their racial, equity and inclusion efforts. And the idea is that you would create a virtual HBCU space for all HBCUs to have their students engage across a number of core disciplines. For us, we’re spending a lot of time being at Beacon School for Agricultural Technology. For others, it’s the arts, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s a way for the HBCU students to connect with each other across these emerging disciplines and older disciplines; and also, for the companies to connect with these students as well and give them some practical experience relative to what’s happening in the new workspace, what the expectation is in those workspaces, what’s coming down the pike that many of us hadn’t seen before. So it is a unique opportunity because more businesses are coming into that space. They’re finding out about HBCUs in a much different way, and that is creating obviously new opportunities for the students themselves, but, as I said, equally important for the companies who are serious about their business of diversity, equity, and inclusion. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. I’ll just note Ambassador Perry has a comment in the Q&A box about—as a co-drafter of the Rangel program and enabling students to enter the Pickering program, there are opportunities at the State Department that offer paid internships so that’s important to mention. So now I’m going to go to Harold Schmitz, a senior scholar at the University of California Davis, who has raised his hand. Q: Hi. Yeah, it’s Harold Schmitz. And thanks for this. So I’m actually serving on a Blue Ribbon Panel at the National Academy of Sciences, and so we’re looking at it from a land grants perspective, you know, across 1862-1890 and 1990s—thinking specifically about food and agriculture research and how to enhance collaboration between the whole land-grant enterprise as opposed to the traditional sort of 1862s. And so I’d really appreciate hearing your views on how would you see the land-grant enterprise from your perspective operating at a much higher and more collaborative sort of speed and nature than it currently is? ALLEN: It’s an interesting question, Harold. I’m glad you asked it. And a couple of observations. For one, I serve on the Council of 1890s, and for the room, there are about eighteen HBCUs that are 1890 land-grant institutions. And the idea is that we would spend and build deeper relationships with some of our 1860 PWI counterparts, but also among each other. I think the one thing that we as HBCUs, generally in 1890s in particular, can do a bit more clearly is find those unique opportunities in our own space and build capacity together. I did mention Cheyney and Lincoln, and I saw that one of our colleagues corrected me. There absolutely are two great HBCUs in Ohio in Central and Wilberforce as well. But what—we do it from time to time, but what we don’t do often enough is find a way to really build collaborative, comprehensive research projects across our spaces, and proposals, and then present them as unique opportunities. We usually—this is unfortunate, but it is a fact—go to the larger PWIs who have bigger capacity, more staff, more opportunity, and then when we do that, we become a sub to that project, which nothing wrong with being a sub but if you’re always a sub then you’re not going to get the kind of capacity to really build your own research protocol and framework. So we’re trying to do a better job of that as we move forward. And then, as I said, because of the profile that we have received here recently, many more opportunities are coming our way, and what I mean by that is many more conversations. We’ll see if those conversations turn into substantive research dollars and the like, but we are having many more conversations with the right people around how we are able—how we can build support and capacity for our own research interests. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Any other questions? We’re coming to the end of our time, so. There are a lot of, sort of, compliments in the Q&A box saying that this has been a very inspiring discussion. Thank you for your important work. And so just noting that. In our final minutes, Tony, it would be great if you could talk about, what are—you mentioned the four areas that you’re going to focus on with President Biden, but what do you want to—what would you say to all of us to be doing in our communities to help with these efforts? ALLEN: Well, just put HBCUs aside for a second. The story of the country is a story of struggle, right? And that’s certainly true in the African American context, but I think that’s true overall. And our ability to be a more thoughtful, civil society that really lifts all boats is the final—in my view, is the final frontier for the country and I think an opportunity for the world if we get it right. So, oftentimes I say it’s a little less difficult for you to find diverse talent pipelines if your proximity is one that has diverse pipelines in it, which is to say, who do you go to church with, who do you eat dinner with? Who do your friends talk to? Those are the opportunities that I’ve had in my life kind of in the reverse, right, that has helped me—helped open doors for me, helped me get connected in the right ways, helped me open doors for other people. But if we are living largely separate, distinct, homogenous lives based on our race, ethnicity, or gender, it’s going to be a much difficult and really more—you’d have to have a much more concerted effort to break the barriers that are largely artificial in our context. They really are largely artificial when you think about them. They have been cemented by, sort of, these systemic concerns, but they are largely artificial. And this—having an opportunity like this in front of the Council I think is actually a pretty important part of the process because you’re going to expose yourself in a way that you might not have thought of. Quite frankly, it’s one of the reasons I said yes to doing this because I’m exposing myself to something I might not have—just might not have crossed my mind in my business. Now I know just why important it is. So I would just have you think about proximity in your own lives, as I certainly do, and where you see the opportunity to make a real difference, do it and do it boldly. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you, and well—this has been really terrific opportunity for us, too, to have this exchange with you. Thank you for your leadership. If nobody else has a question, we will close a couple minutes early because I know that everybody is busy, and we really appreciate you taking the time from your busy schedule to do this. So thank you for that. And thanks to everybody for their comments. We can circulate links after this to the transcript of video as well as some of the resources that have been mentioned. Again, I’m just going to say, if you have a professor that you want to send next week to our College and University Educators Workshop, reach out to me—(laughs)—and of course, we will be sending out information about our diversity conference because this is extremely important to us. We also have paid internships at CFR, which is extremely helpful and important as we look to diversify. So thank you, again, Dr. Allen. Appreciate it. ALLEN: Thank you. FASKIANOS: And to all of you, please continue follow us at @CFR_academic on Twitter, visit, and I know this is a busy time for all of you with finals, graduation, and everything else. So good luck with the rest of the semester, and we look forward to your continued participation. ALLEN: Take care. (END)


Natasha Warikoo, professor of sociology at Tufts University and author of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universitiesleads a conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion in college and university admissions.   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 posted on our website at As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Natasha Warikoo with us to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion in college and university admissions. Dr. Warikoo is professor of sociology at Tufts University and an expert on racial and ethnic inequality in education. She is a former Guggenheim fellow and previously served as associate professor of education at Harvard University. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Warikoo taught in New York City’s public schools and worked at the U.S. Department of Education. She has written several books on race and higher education. Her most recent is entitled The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities. So, Dr. Warikoo, thank you very much for being with us today. We really appreciate it. I thought you could just take us through the current diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in college and university admissions, and what you’ve seen over the course of your career, and where you see this going. WARIKOO: Great. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for the invitation, Irina. And thank you to all of you for being here. I can see your names, although I can’t see your faces. So what I thought I would do, as I thought about this question about DEI and admissions, is sort of to take us—to zoom out a little bit. So I’ll talk about affirmative action because I think when we think about DEI in the context of admissions that’s sort of what immediately comes to mind. And I’ve written about this. But I want to take us broader and think also just about admissions more broadly. And some of the arguments I want to make are from my forthcoming book with Polity Press, Is Affirmative Action Fair? So I want to start by saying that I think we need to move away from this idea that there is one best, most fair way of admitting students to college. At colleges we tend to see—we tend to treat admissions as a reward for individual achievement, right? You work—the narrative is that you work hard, and you can get—you show your grit, and you show your achievements, and you can get in. And then in that context, affirmative action becomes one small kind of fix to ensure that the system is fair to everyone, along with things like increasing financial aid and recruiting around the country so students are aware of the university. And I found this in my interviews with Ivy League students in Diversity Bargain, I found that students—they thought that admissions worked, and it was because affirmative action kind of corrected underrepresentation. And they were satisfied with how admissions were done, despite the fact that multiple groups, including working-class students, Black students, and Latinx students, continue to be underrepresented. But they felt like it was sort of fixed enough. And I want to argue that, instead, we should think about admissions as something that furthers university goals and not just selects the kind of, quote/unquote, “best of the best.” So let me explain. In a series of lectures in 1963, the president—the then-President of the University of California Clark Kerr, noticed that universities had become what he called multi-universities. They were organizations beholden to multiple purposes and goals. Teaching, research, and the public good. And not much has changed since then. A recent study of college mission statements found that these three goals endure. Most college mission statements express commitments to teaching, as well as the public good, inculcating civic values. And in general, U.S. universities see themselves as much more kind of embedded in the fabric of society compared to expressing the goal of bettering society, making it more equitable, commitments to diversity, much more so than universities in Europe and Britain. And many Americans also imagine higher education to be a kind of engine for social mobility. We think about, you know, since the 1950s the expansion of higher education. We sort of look to higher education as a mechanism for bettering ourselves and our futures. So what colleges do—when they admit students, then, should be in pursuit of these goals, not—again, not an individual certification of merit, or who’s deserving. And, implicitly with who’s deserving comes who’s not deserving. And I think that colleges really need to make this goal to prospective and current students explicit. So rather than talking about, oh, this year we have the best class ever, the lowest admit rate ever. We should be really sort of talking about admissions in the context of what we’re trying to do as a university and embedded in society. So the late Lani Guinier in her book The Tyranny of Merit (sic; The Tyranny of the Meritocracy) argued that we should consider college admissions as a mechanism to a more robust democracy. And when we do that, Guinier argued that it should lead us to discard standardized testing as a part of the application process in favor of broad, inclusive representation. And I want to argue, if we consider the goal of social mobility, it becomes even more unclear why certain kinds of measures of academic achievement in general have become the central focus for college admissions. In fact, one might even make the case that academics should play the opposite role to what it plays. If colleges want to promote social mobility, perhaps admissions should be akin to means-tested social supports, provided to those who need it most whether because of their financial—the financial hardships that their families endure, racial exclusion, or weak academic skills. But of course, this is not what we do. Families of a majority of students at top colleges pay more per year—you know, are not on financial aid, pay more per year than the median household income in the United States. And a 4.0 grade point average, of course, seems increasingly to be a prerequisite to even be considered for admissions at top colleges, especially if you’re not a child of an alum or a donor—a high-profile donor. So, I think it’s hard to shake the belief that selective colleges should foreground achievement in admissions and that there’s one best way to do this. Unlike the labor market, for which we understand that applicants are chosen for jobs on the basis of what a company needs not a reward for the kind of best applicant, you know, we understand that the marketing job would go to a different person than the head of engineering job, and that would be a different person from the head of finance job. But in higher education, we describe admissions as a reward for hard work and dedication. It’s the backbone of our beliefs in equal opportunity and meritocracy. But seeing admissions as a competition to decide who’s the most deserving reinforces ideas about who’s deserving and undeserving. Again, given the outcomes of admissions, it says that people who are economically advantaged, who are White, who are Asian American, are more worthy and deserving, because those groups tend to be who are the ones that are rewarded in the admissions process. So this tension between an individualist, winner-takes-all meritocracy and a process of selection that seeks to fulfill multiple missions of research, teaching, and the public good, and social mobility, is what lies, to me, at the heart of controversies over affirmative action. So let me say a little bit about affirmative action. I see it less as a kind of fix to this individual meritocracy, but rather as a critical policy, an important policy, that promotes four important organizational goals. The first is a diverse learning environment. This is the argument that the U.S. Supreme Court, starting in the 1978 Bakke decision has said is allowable under the law. So Justice Powell in the Bakke decision said: Well, as long as you have a narrowly tailored version of attention to race, then, you know, if you are looking at race in order to fulfill a university mission of having a diverse learning environment in which everyone flourishes, then that is allowed. And since then, there’s been decades of research from social scientists showing all of the benefits from these diverse environments in terms of cognitive capacity, racial attitudes, civic participation in the future. So we know that affirmative action works in this way. Now, I highlight in my book, The Diversity Bargain, the problem with solely talking about this kind of diverse learning environment argument is that it ignores inequality. So we also need to talk about inequality. And colleges, I think, need to do a lot better job of talking about racial inequality, the racial inequality that is really the root of—and the history of affirmative action. And that leads me to my second argument for affirmative action. And when we think about the goal of promoting social mobility and opportunity, we have to take into consideration race in admissions. We have plenty of evidence of racial inequality. I won’t go through all of this, but just to say that, sometimes people say, well, it’s related to class and not race. But even within the same social class, we see racially different opportunities. So working-class Whites tend to live in more advantaged neighborhoods than working-class Blacks. And a recent study found that Black—upper middle-class Black adults—excuse me. Black adults who grew up in upper middle-class families are much more likely to experience downward mobility than are White adults who grew up in upper middle-class families. And so we see this kind of intergenerational differences in terms of the transmission of privilege. Third, reparations. And reparations not just from the harms of slavery, but also from U.S. intervention in foreign wars abroad. And, again, if we think about these organizational goals of playing a civic role, and these universities as wanting to be kind of bastions of racial equity, we know that many elite colleges have benefitted from the slave trade, from slave labor, from—you know, have had faculty who have sort of been part of the foreign policies that led to poverty in other countries. And so reparations is another way that I think—another institutional goal that can be met through affirmative action. And lastly, a diverse, legitimate leadership. We know that affirmative action can lead to diversity in leadership. President Obama talked about how he thinks he benefitted from affirmative action, just as Sotomayor talks about how she was an affirmative action baby. If we think that that symbolic representation matters—and it matters in order for leadership to be seen as legitimate, to be—for people to be seen—to see leadership that looks like them is increasingly important. And so, again, thinking about the contribution to society, this is one small way that higher education—a role that higher education can play. So the last thing I want to say about this is that any way you admit students, there are winners and there are losers. There’s no one best way of defining and measuring merit. It’s always historically and geographically contingent. You know, other countries do admissions very differently. When I talk to British students, they—Britain has a very different way of admitting students, but they think their way is the best. And even within the U.S., we’ve changed the way we define merit and admit students over time as well. And so history suggests that reasonable people and selective colleges will disagree about how to admit students. So overall, I want to—I think we need to change our typical vision for college admissions as an individualist, meritocratic competition. When we consider affirmative action within a broader consideration of the purposes of selective higher education in the U.S., we can see its true worth. College admission is not and should not be an evaluation of the worthiness or deservingness of individuals. And, you know, we need greater representation to make sure our future leaders are exposed to diverse perspectives and lived experiences, that our future leadership is seen as legitimate. Colleges in the United States are embedded in a society plagued by rampant inequality, including racial inequality, and one in which we often turn to education as a mechanism to address that inequality. And so, I think the lack of clarity sometimes on university purposes allowed families to map their own meanings onto selection. And I think that universities need to correct these misunderstandings explicitly. So, of course, affirmative action is enough to fully address the diverse roles of our universities. It’s one small policy. And its impact might be paltry compared to increasing financial aid, increasing funding for state and community colleges, increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, social supports for working-class and poor families. The list goes on. But I want to remind everyone that these policies are not zero-sum. It’s not that we need to pursue one or the other. We should pursue all of them, alongside affirmative action, and not as a replacement. And so, supporting affirmative action doesn’t preclude supporting an expansion of all these other provisions to increase equity, either within higher education or beyond. So let me stop here, and I’m really looking forward to the discussion. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much for that overview. We appreciate it. And now we are going to go to all of you for your questions and comments. So I’m going to go first, great, to Beverly Lindsay. Q: Good afternoon, Natasha. It’s good to hear your comments. I have a few comments, but I also then want to raise a question on something that was not covered. As you probably know, Manuel Justiz and I wrote the book in 2001 on The Quest for Equity in Higher Education. And you probably know a number of my colleagues, like Roger Geiger, dealing with historical aspects. For example, of how testing came into place, because there were too many Jewish students at elite universities like Yale and Harvard. I should tell you also that I am still a professor of higher education and international policy studies. But one of the questions or concerns that Manny and I still have, and that is the change from affirmative action to multicultural education to DEI. And what we often see is there’s these changes that occur that don’t necessarily reflect what is done in the actual admissions office. That’s one issue. The second really critical issue, and you’re welcome to read my book that’s just coming out—it actually came out this past month, about three days ago, on higher education policy in developing and Western countries. And that is league tables, ratings. Parents are doing everything to be in that higher education university, whether it’s a public Ivy like Berkeley, or Texas, or Wisconsin, or Virginia. And no one is raising—or, very few people are raising these questions about second-tier. So you have the issue of ratings. And the U.S. News and World Report, of course, is one that many American parents will look at, but internationally it’s the Times Higher Education and QS, for example. So that’s one issue. But the second issue, which I mentioned first, was DEI. Because historically and currently, many of the people who are in DEI are people of color. And they have no faculty rank. So they’re really not involved in the admission process, whether at the undergraduate or the graduate level. So if you could briefly offer some comments about those two key areas. Thank you. WARIKOO: Thank you. Well, I didn’t know that your book was out, so I’m super excited to read it. Thanks for highlighting that. So, yeah, I think these are two really important issues. So I’ll start with the rankings. It’s clear that the rankings are just—have this terrible influence in higher education. I don’t know if you’ve seen that book by Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder, I forgot the title of it, but they basically did this study of—they looked at law schools and how law schools seem to respond to rankings and how it’s sort of changing the organizations. And they highlight very clearly this—first, all of—having a ranking system—and I kind of see a parallel to admissions, right? When you rank people—we’re so obsessed with selection and ranking in the United States that when you have this system people are always looking up. Like, oh, OK, well, if there’s a ranking and I’m number ten, I want to be number nine, and then I want to be number eight. And so they’re always looking up. And then they’re trying to figure out ways to sort of increase their standing. And they’re—doing things that are not always beneficial, certainly not beneficial to students who are kind of nontraditional students, right? And they are doing things like rather than more financial aid for—based on what your family needs, merit-based financial aid, which is their way of bringing in students with higher SAT scores to bump their average SAT score, so that they can get a bump in the rankings. And then, you always have to ask yourself, for what? What does that—what does that ultimately get you? And again, I think we have to go to first principles. What is our purpose, right? What are we trying to do as a university? Do we—can we fulfill that mission with a student body that is increasingly privileged and increasingly does not look like a cross-section of eighteen-year-olds in the United States? And so, to me, the answer is no. (Laughs.) And I think we have a problem in that way. So I totally agree with you that the rankings are a huge problem. And I think the most elite colleges maybe can get away with not participating, but I think the lower-status colleges say, well, if we don’t participate then, they look for the data and then just put us lower than we should be. So they always—they feel compelled. I think it will take an organized effort to sort of move away from those rankings. But I think they are incredibly damaging. And they—ultimately, they hurt students who are—who don’t have the educational opportunities as much as privileged students do. In terms of DEI, I think that this is a problem not just in higher education. I think in the corporate sector, all over we see, on the one hand this promising increase in chief diversity officers, heads of diversity in a lot of different kinds of organizations. Even in school districts we’re seeing this. And on the other hand, the extent to which they have power to impact change varies tremendously. And, if that person being—a solo voice, and it really depends on how much they are backed by the administration, by leadership. In terms of admissions specifically, my experience is that a lot of people go into admissions because they care about diversity and equity, right? And they—I had a lot of former students who were admissions officers when I was teaching students who were getting their master’s degrees in higher education. And they really—they talked about how they thought that being in this role they could help shape the student body of a selective college in a way that would increase opportunity. And then they would—a lot of them talked about then what they would find is that there are all of these things that don’t allow them to really do that to the extent that they would like—and I think even heads of admissions would like—because, you know, they have to—they can only give out a certain number of—amount of financial aid. And even in a place like Harvard, right, with this crazy endowment, is admitting students that almost half of them can pay full price—which is, again, higher than median household income in this country. And so their whole financial model is based on the assumption that you’re not going to be a representative group of students. So I think they come across all kinds of things. Athletic recruiting is a mechanism of privilege. The development office. And so I think—I think it’s going to take a much broader shift in the culture of higher education to expand admissions. And I really think that we need to sort of come back to what are we trying to do here? And does this fit our mission? To me, when you have a student body that is not representative, it’s not—how are you developing the leaders for tomorrow in that case? So. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Jeff Rosensweig. Q: Thank you, Professor. And I’ve learned a lot from you. And I like your zero-sum versus sometimes positive-sum. I’m in Atlanta at Emory University, where we have wonderful schools like Spelman and Morehouse, and a tremendous amount of money is flowing to them now, and ultimately will be better for our society. And that’s an example of positive-sum. But let’s go back to zero-sum. At Emory, I’m very proud because we rank right near the top of the top twenty or top twenty-two universities in terms of social mobility. Having students, for instance, from the bottom fifth. But living in Georgia, we got two Democratic senators, we voted for President Biden, very close margins, as you know, because a lot of White traditional Republicans voted—(laughs)—Democratic. But you sense a backlash as you listen to people whisper that, for instance, it sounds like—you may not use the word—but it sounds like quotas. You know, there’s 14 percent Hispanics persons in the U.S. We want 14 percent of Harvard to be Hispanic. A certain amount of people make over—make enough to pay tuition. Well, we shouldn’t have 50 percent from that group, even if it’s two Black doctors or their parents. So I’m worried about perhaps a lack—I don’t know if you are going to issue a second edition someday of your book—but there’s been a tremendous sea-change in the last two years in college admissions, in a very big concern for DEI. We just searched for a new dean. We asked him to write three essays. An entire essay was what have they done—and done, not just talked about—to enhance DEI, and what will they do, if they become dean? The rankings are now looking at schools and seeing what are they doing for DEI. So I do worry, if you are—if your book just may be two years too late. (Laughs.) Your book maybe pre-George Floyd instead of post. So that is my main concern there. But also my main—my other main concern is with the zero-sum. We all want more diversity, but are we risking—if we use your formulaic approach—going too far and having a backlash? WARIKOO: Yeah. Thanks for your question. You know, I think part of the problem is that we don’t—I don’t think most people, myself included until probably I was in college or maybe even later, understand the reality of racial inequality and the history of racial exclusion in the United States. So, we all learn about slavery, the heinous history of slavery and segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. But I think there’s less attention to, well, how did we get here? Why is there—why do we see these racial differences, even among the upper-middle class, even among working-class families? What— how did that happen? And I think that—I don’t think many people really understand that, because we’re never taught it and we don’t talk about it. And I think—I actually think that is—rather than too much attention to it, I think not enough understanding of that history is part of the problem. So to me, the solution is not to move away from it. In terms of—I’m certainly not advocating quotas. I know that—legally that that wouldn’t work anyway. And I think that to me it’s just sort of canary in the coal mine, right? Just to sort of say, well, when we see these massive differences, it should say—it should make us go, hmm. Something’s off here. What’s going on? We say that this is a fair system. When you talk to most people in the country, they—young people, they want to go to college, they think it’s important. It just gives us pause. And that’s all I meant to highlight. I’m certainly not saying that there should be—that college student bodies should explicitly mirror the population around them. So just to take the examples that you gave, the—the Atlanta elite colleges, like Black colleges and then historically predominantly White colleges like Emory—there’s a great book by Adam Harris called The State Must Provide, which is about the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And you see—one of the things you see in that history is the way that colleges—like my own college, Tufts University, like Emory, had the—even University of Georgia—have had the benefit of generations of building their endowment, right? And their endowment is built at a time from times when there was legal segregation. And so these donations to these HBCUs is great, but it’s not—it’s not even coming close to making the resources for those colleges comparable to the resources that the historically—the predominantly White universities. And so, I think we have a long way to go to sort of truly equalize those colleges, even though I think there has been more attention. And the zero-sum thing? I think you’re totally right. And one of the things that I have been talking about is the fact that why haven’t our selective colleges expanded enrollment, right? I mean, the population has been steadily growing since—I mean, with fits and starts. But they have not kept up with the increasing population and increasing interest in elite higher education over the last half-century. And so I do think one thing we could do is expand enrollment at these places. I mean, there’s so many amazing young people, these colleges reject so many applicants. There is—you know, they—nothing—their standards would not decrease. I don’t think there’s any real worry that anything would change. But I think that it would provide opportunity to more people. And so—and it would feel less zero-sum, in that sense. I think part of the problem is you have declining admit rates making it feel like you’re kind of constantly in competition with each other. And that’s—we know the research on kind of group threat. That’s when group threat and anxiety about, well, if we have affirmative action then what about my group? That gets heightened through these kinds of processes. So certainly, I think that’s part of the problem as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go to Eric Hoffman next. He has a raised hand and wrote a question. So, Eric, why don’t you just unmute and identify yourself and ask it yourself. Q: Sure. I’d be happy to. Can you hear me? WARIKOO: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Yes. Thank you, Professor, for all that important and interesting insight. I’m the dean at a community college, and I oversee the honors college. And we—I’m in Miami, Florida. And we’re focused on, in the last two years, on a very strong DEI effort here to increase the number of Black and African American students. We are a Hispanic-serving and minority-serving institute, but our number of Black and African Americans aren’t the numbers we’d like it to be. Understanding implicit bias, institutional memory, and just plain inertia, how do we get those members of admissions committee on—sort of moving forward towards that goal? Because it sounds easy, we put together mandates, put together programs. But at the end of the day, we’re working with people on these admissions committee, and they’re not always—there’s a little reluctance at times to change. That’s just human nature, right? So how do—what kind of evidence, what kind of strategies can we use to kind of move people along the continuum to get—to understand that we really need to examine and admit students, sometimes more holistically. Thank you. WARIKOO: Yeah. Maybe you can answer a question, though. So what are they—what are they saying when they are kind of resisting admitting those students? What’s their worry? Q: Well—(laughs)—not to expose too much—but it seems to be a similar refrain as it relates to let’s really focus on standardized scores as opposed to GPA and other holistic factors, when we know GPA is a five-times better predictor of college success than the standardized scores. But some individuals are so used to using sort of this metric of standardized scores, it’s hard to move them away from that, saying, you know, this isn’t really the best measure, most valid measure, of being successful in college. WARIKOO: Yeah. Well, so I was going to say, one of the things you could do is just present this data, right? So, here’s the data on the predictive power of GPA, here’s the data on the predictive power of standardized test scores, here’s what the standardized test score adds, here’s what the racial difference is that we see in these scores. And I think, I don’t know—I mean, the history of standardized testing is a history of trying to prove the superiority of Whites over all people of color, right? I think when you understand that it’s, like, oh, OK, so this is the history of this. And I also wonder if just observing students who are successful. Like, just profiles of students who maybe didn’t have that high SAT score and did well, and were able to sort of have—your college made a positive impact in their lives. And helping people see that either through someone coming to a meeting, or a profile, so that they—sometimes people need that story of—to sort of have this image in their head. So I think that can be something that can be convincing. Because I think sometimes there are these—there might be this sort of stereotype in their minds of, this is what these students are, they’re not going to be successful or take advantage, or what have you. But if they can see kind of what we call counter-stereotypic examples, that can sort of combat those stereotypes. So those are few things that come to mind for me. So it’s great that you’re doing that. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Let’s go to Jude Jones next. Q: It’s a great presentation. I don’t work in admissions. I’m a faculty member at Fordham University in New York. But I do a lot of things related to DEI work, and I do read applications at the admissions level for our honors program. But admission on the level of admitting for mission, I’m totally on board with that. It makes sense. I believe our universities should look and be more like a cross-section, as you said, of teenagers in our country right now. As a pragmatist—I teach philosophy and American pragmatism is one of my things—I always think in terms of, what an idea leads to as being what it means, right? And so one of the downstream consequences of admitting for mission is that mission is often—I think this relates to the previous question too—mission’s often out ahead of culture where inclusion is concerned. Our institutions change very slowly, because that’s what institutions do, unfortunately. And students are rightly impatient with that, but there it is. And so what I find sometimes is that a disproportionate amount of the emotional labor of institutional change winds up falling to the students who come and then clamor for the reality that their admission would suggests would meet them when they get to schools that are not historically—have not historically been as committed to this as possible. So the problem then becomes an unintended consequence of admitting for diversity as a mission value—which, again, I’m totally on board for—is that that gap between the ideal and the real then exacerbates the sense of exclusion that students come with, because our culture has—we’re still an exclusive culture, not a sufficiently just culture—that the benefit of diversity in admissions was after in the first place. It would exacerbate students’ negative experience. And I don’t want this to be an argument against admitting for this reason or on this model, but just sort of a request for how to think about this. And maybe even in terms of brass tacks, do you think that there should be metrics for levels of support and institutional change that should follow this approach? And if so, what should those be? So I hope that makes sense, what I’m asking. WARIKOO: Yeah. Thanks for your comment. And that’s a really important point. And you can’t—you can’t change admissions alone, right? And so when you—I think absolutely we need institutional supports, right? So, part of my—when people say, well, the—I’m sorry—Eric, when you talk about, well, people are worried about are these students going to be successful, or they’re looking at test scores and maybe they’re thinking are these students going to be successful. And, my response to that is also that if a student—if someone had demonstrated some kind of excellence in their grades—they’re the top of their class, or whatever it is, then we need to be an organization that can serve them, right? And so we need to—the culture needs to shift, right? We need to have those supports, right? We need to make sure there are a quorum of peers who have similar lived experiences. We need—and I think higher education—some colleges have done better than others in these. I mean, for decades there have been kind of Africana centers. Increasingly there are centers for first-generation students. And so having an institutional space I think is one, academic supports for students who haven’t had the same educational opportunities, who may have been a good student but did not have the same rigorous curriculum as some of their peers, I think those are incredibly important and to do those in ways that are not stigmatizing I think is incredibly important., And so absolutely there have to be these simultaneous—if the student body is changing and we’re expanding access, we need to change the culture and change—and the institutions can do this and be very deliberate about how they do it. And because you’re right. And I think the reality is that it will be a harder lift for students who haven’t had those educational experiences. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be there, right, that we need to work hard just to meet their needs and prioritize those as well, so. Q: I’m thinking more in terms of, you know, there is a heavy lift, maybe, but more in terms of students become very involved in diversity-oriented activities, right? And calls for social justice. Students come in with activism experience that’s just extraordinary, you know? But that is emotional labor. And it really is a drain, especially during the pandemic, which just multiplies everything. So that’s part of where I’m worried—not so much the academic lift, but—although those supports are absolutely important. But, they want more of the change for which they were admitted, to highlight that this is a very important value. WARIKOO: Yeah. Yeah. And it shouldn’t be their job, right? Q: Right, exactly. (Laughter.) WARIKOO: They’re there to get an education like everybody else. And it shouldn’t be their job. And it’s unfortunate when it kind of falls in their lap. So I agree with you that this is a problem. Q: Thanks. FASKIANOS: Let’s go next to John Murray. Q: Greetings. Thank you for the presentation. I am director of international admissions at Hesston College. I’m also a member of our diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership team. We are a very high-quality institution, but we would not be considered in an elite. (Laughs.) We are in the unfortunate position of most years receiving fewer applications than we have spaces available. I’m curious what your research would say to us about how we might work at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion when we’re not kind of selecting between individuals. WARIKOO: OK. So I didn’t hear where you’re teaching and where your college is located. Q: Hesston College is in central Kansas. We’re about thirty miles north of Wichita. So we’re also in a rural setting. WARIKOO: Got it. Got it. So, I would sort of think about—so, two things. One is that I think, DEI is not just for people of color, right? So, what does DEI look like for White students as well, and what kinds of programing or classes or course content are—or, what do our syllabi look like? And are there—is diversity reflected on the syllabi? So I think there’s a lot that is important to think about in terms of DEI for White students as well as students of color. That would be my first thing to think about. And then the second is, if there are populations that—in the state or the geographic area—who aren’t coming to your college, sometimes it takes some creative planning, like a partnership with a particular high school, or, where there’s—where students can take a class, and if they do well in that class then they get admitted, or they get a scholarship, or they can take a class for free when they’re in high school, or, you know, these kinds of kind of linkages that can bring attention to—make a student think, oh, I could go there, and I could do well there, and this is a place for people like me. I think that’s what students need to—we need to find ways for them to think and feel in order for them to see a particular college as a viable option. And I think the other thing is just once you start then hopefully it sort of snowballs, right? Because then there’s a quorum of people, and then they—and then there’s a network, and then it doesn’t feel as exclusive of a place, and students start to sort of see a place differently as well. So I think you’re moving in the right direction. And, the college in Miami, I would say the same thing, right? Once you get that momentum it can be very positive. FASKIANOS: OK. I’m going to go next to Jonathan Aronson, who also wrote his question. But, Jonathan, please do ask it. Q: I’m coming from a different age. But I will just read my question: My concern is with mental health and anxiety in the students once they get here. Elite schools can accept a class of nothing but valedictorians. But 25 percent of them, by the math, are going to be in the bottom quarter of the class. Fifty years ago a then-dean of admissions at Harvard said, well, we deal—you know, this is before all of the equity, all of the diversity. He said, you know, we accept, what he called, “the happy bottom quarter.” Twenty-five percent of the class was taken on non-academic grounds. And that could be dancers and football players. But he said—we wouldn’t do it that way today, but how do admissions people deal with the whole problem of mental health in—when thinking about admissions of the class as a whole? WARIKOO: So, it’s interesting. I mean, I think mental health is a really important issue. I don’t—I don’t know if kind of—there’s not a lot of emphasis on ranking within a college, like once students arrive. Especially on elite colleges, there seems to be a considerable grade inflation. And so I think no one—I mean, students—I think students who aren’t academically prepared may struggle, but for the most part I think that’s become less—I don’t know that that’s the driver of some of the increasing concerns about mental health for college-age students. I think there are other sort of drivers of that, like, social media—obviously, the pandemic is probably number one right now. Even prior to the pandemic, social media, increasing—you know, I think there’s that great book by William Deresiewicz—I’m blanking on the title—but it’s about this sort of lack of—there’s so much focus on achievement and meeting certain—kind of jumping through particular hoops put in front of us, and that sometimes young people can be—get really good at that, doing what they’re told to do, and then when, you know, stop to ask, what do I really want, or what am I really interested in, or who do I want to be? That becomes even harder. Excellent Sheep is the name of that book. That becomes even harder. And I think those are some of the things that I think are driving some of the mental health issues. And I think they’re very real, particularly in this pandemic. And so—but I think that that is not unique to elite colleges. I mean, what drives kind of mental health issues may be slightly different for different young people. But we really see that certainly at the high school level as well across the board, across lines of race and class. FASKIANOS: Great. I don’t know, Beverly, you wrote a comment. I don’t know if you wanted to surface that yourself, Beverly Lindsay? Q: It was just a comment about—that the gentleman made about mental health. And having been a dean at two different types of universities, we can’t really consider a lot of individual-type mental health unless it’s been in the public sphere. However, once the student enters, there is a considerable amount of resources for students to deal with mental health. And I am in the University of California system now. And I know we’re very, very concerned. But I taught a unit, for example, after the very sad situation at VPI, Virginia Polytech, over a decade ago. And unfortunately, that student had mental health issues, but we were not able—not “we”—the university was not able to have access to that. So there are two types of kinds of dimensions to the mental health issues. WARIKOO: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Beverly. Let’s go to Jennifer Brinkerhoff. Q: Hi. Thank you so much for a very interesting conversation. I wanted to go back to the comment that was made earlier from the gentleman from Emory in Georgia about backlash. Because a lot of the DEI programming is significantly hampered by what I would call lawsuit harassment, right? I mean, we know that there are political constituencies out there who really want to fight this. And it makes it extremely difficult for universities to advance these agendas when they know that the cost of lawsuits, even when they’re right—when they’re doing the right thing and they’re doing something that is legal—but the cost of lawsuits becomes prohibitive. So I wondered if you encountered that or you addressed that at all in your research, and what advice you would have related to that. Thanks. WARIKOO: Yeah. I think this is very real. I feel like it’s kind of grown exponentially in the last few years. (Laughs.) So it’s not in my research. But—and it’s K-12 education, as we see with this sort of supposed anti-CRT—critical race theory—stuff. My only response to that is I don’t know what the solution is besides just keep doing what we’re doing. Because you can’t back down in the face of these impending lawsuits because I feel like—I feel like the right is so organized in their attacks on anything related—any acknowledgment of racial inequality in American society that, OK, if we don’t talk about DEI, then there’s talk about admissions. If we don’t talk admissions—if we look at the K-12 level, there’s this new attack on selective high schools, where most recently a judge—there was a lawsuit towards a selective high school in Virginia that went from exam-based admissions to holistic admissions. They’re not talking about race. And there was still a lawsuit, right? (Laughs.) So I think you can sort of back off and you’re still going to get sued. So I think the solution can’t be to back off because we don’t want to be paralyzed. And, I mean, I think it’s very real. I mean, some of the research on affirmative action shows that there seems to be a sort of backing away from affirmative action because of these fears of lawsuits. Not at the very elite places, but the kind of second-tier kinds of colleges. So we have seen that. But, again, I’m not sure—obviously colleges have to protect themselves and are going to be thinking strategically about their finances, the likelihood of being sued. But I don’t think—I’m not sure what to do about that threat besides saying, I don’t think it’s a reason to not do this work. You’ll get attacked anyway. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (Laughs.) Natasha, can you talk a little bit more about college admissions lotteries, and how that methodology is affecting DEI? WARIKOO: Yeah. Well, no one’s doing a lottery, but I have written a little bit about it. So, one of the things that I—as I’ve been talking, I’ve been saying we have to stop thinking of this as an individual certification of merit, is that part of the way to do that is to change the meaning of selection. It’s funny, I’ll tell you a story, my husband was just on jury duty for the first time yesterday, because he’s a naturalized citizen. So he came home and said, “You know, I didn’t really want to be put on this trial because it would mean—they said it was going to be, like, a long trial. But I—you know, but I answered honestly.” And then he got interviewed by the judge and these two lawyers. And then he said, “When they said, OK, you’re dismissed at the end I felt a sense of disappointment. And he was, like, because it felt like I was—I didn’t win, right?” He was like, “But I didn’t want to be on this. I never wanted to be—I mean, obviously if you’re selected, you’re selected. You don’t have a choice.” But I think these systems—and the reason I tell you that story is that these systems of selection kind of do a number on us, right? It’s, like, we get so caught up in them. And I think what a lottery would do is say, you know what? It’s random. (Laughs.) Like, because the reality is it’s kind of random, you know? Did you grow up in a family that has the resources to pay for you to go to private music lessons, and now, this college needs an oboist because the oboist is graduating? Or did you get to sign up for—did your parents pay for you to sign up—in my latest research in a high school, kids are—they have, like, a private pitching coach. And so now you get recruited to be the pitcher on the baseball team. And so it’s—that’s kind of random, you know? And the reality is that—but we act as if this is, like, a selection. So, to me, a lottery—we could say: Let’s put all the potential people, all the names in a hat, and let’s just have a lottery. And, we can think about, like, do we want to have—and then make clear, like, we want to have a quorum of full fee-paying students. And that doesn’t feel very good. But that’s kind of what we’re doing, so let’s call a spade a spade, you know? People who, athletes or whatever it is that that college is sort of looking at. Intended majors. I think that—and we can think about diversity holistic—I think we can’t have kind of set metrics like, you get extra points or anything like that for being underrepresented, but we can think about it holistically, and being put into this lottery. And it would acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of amazing young people in this country who could thrive at most of these selective colleges. And I think it would change the meaning in a way that I think is very productive for society. So that’s sort of why I think that a lottery is a very promising idea. FASKIANOS: Great. I don’t know if anybody has other questions or comments, but I will ask one more. In your research you found that White students and students of color perceive the benefits of diversity differently. What lessons can we learn from this, or have you learned, and how do you think you shift this—the perception differences? WARIKOO: Yeah. I think one of the problems of the way that we talk about affirmative action and diversity only as a sort of, everybody benefits, everybody wins, is that it kind of leads to these expectations on the part of White students of their peers of color, right? Well, if diversity is all about improving my own educational experience, and I can see how I have benefited from those diverse voices in the classroom, then why—like then—and some of them would get annoyed when they saw, like, a table of Black students in the cafeteria. And of course, they didn’t notice all those other tables of White students in the cafeteria, but they would say, well, if they’re here to enlighten me, then they should be kind of integrating into these White spaces. And of course, that student wouldn’t then go and sit at that table of Black students, but they’re expecting the Black students to integrate into these predominantly White spaces. And so I think there are all these unfair expectations on the underrepresented students of color. And of course, they’re all assumed to have benefitted from affirmative action, and we know that’s not the case. And so I think there’s also this sort of assumption that they should always win, right? So I had a student admitted to Harvard say, well, if I hadn’t gotten into Harvard, I would have felt that I experienced racial discrimination, right, if, you know, the student of color at my high school had gotten in and I hadn’t. And so there is this belief that they should always be winners. And even with affirmative action, it’s just there to benefit themselves. And I think we need to get away from that and really focus in on racial equity and, again, the history of racial exclusion in this country. And the way that even these institutions themselves have benefitted from—again, from slave labor, from the slave trade, from building their endowments at a time of racial segregation, at a time where there were very few, if any, students of color on their campuses. And then, legacy benefits that sort of continue that sort of intergenerational racial exclusion. FASKIANOS: Great. And Beverly Lindsay has suggested Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria. Just want to share that resource. We are at the end of time, if you want to just make any final remarks before we close. WARIKOO: Yeah. I mean, I guess I’ll just say that I think it’s important to pay attention to admissions, but I also have started to think much more broadly about DEI and higher education. And I think we need to also look well-beyond these, sort of, selective colleges. Most colleges in the United States are not selective, right? And, you know, we’ve heard from folks from of those colleges. And, we need to—when we look at the endowment per pupil at some of these selective colleges, compared to—and what they’re doing for social mobility compared to, I’m sure, like the college in Miami, community colleges, open access state colleges. I think we just need a lot more supports for those colleges that are engines of social mobility. And, again, if we think about the mission of higher education and how we, as Americans, see how we want to—sort of, what kind of society we want to be, I think it’s incredibly important to look also beyond admissions. So I’ll leave it at that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Thank you, Natasha Warikoo. We appreciate it. We look forward to reading your forthcoming book. And to everybody taking the time to participate and for your great questions and comments. Again, this is a forum to exchange ideas and best practices. So we loved hearing your comments as well. So our next higher education webinar will be on Tuesday, April 19, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University. We’ll talk about the role of HBCUs in the United States. So please look out for that invitation. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_academic, visit,, and for more resources. I look forward to communing again. And thank you, Natasha. WARIKOO: Thanks for having me. (END)

College and University Educators Workshop

CFR hosts an annual workshop for university and college professors, the College and University Educators Workshop, which features expert briefings on global issues and discussion groups on best practices for teaching international affairs. For more information about future workshops, please email [email protected].

College and University Educators Workshop Sessions



The 2021 Virtual College and University Educators Workshop convened professors from across the country for substantive expert briefings and group discussions on foreign policy issues, to learn about the wide variety of CFR and Foreign Affairs academic resources available, and to share best practices and educational tools for bringing international affairs into the classroom.  

Women and Economic Growth

Kim K. Azzarelli, Jamille Bigio, and Richard Fry analyze factors underlying the global gender wage gap and discuss the benefits of gender parity, with Elmira Bayrasli moderating.

Student Events

Back-to-School Event

Each year, CFR invites college and university students and professors to the annual Back-to-School Event in New York. The program includes a panel discussion with foreign policy experts on a pressing issue, a presentation of the latest CFR multimedia resource, and a networking session with CFR representatives. 

Watch the 2019 event celebrating the tenth anniversary of the podcast The World Next Week with a live taping before a student audience.

Student Briefings

Each year, CFR welcomes a limited number of college and university student groups to its New York headquarters and Washington, DC, offices to learn about the organization and meet with CFR fellows and staff (*Note: All briefings are currently conducted virtually). Briefings may include an overview of CFR and its mission, a foreign policy discussion with a CFR expert or Foreign Affairs editor, or a short presentation on job and internship opportunities. A minimum of twenty students is required to arrange a visit, and briefings are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and to apply, please fill out the CFR Briefing Request Form



CFR Academic participates in conferences across the country by hosting exhibitions, meetings, and workshops. Meet CFR representatives and learn more about our resources at upcoming conferences. Contact [email protected] for more information.

CFR Discussion: Geopolitical Implications of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

March 31, 2022

The conversation featured Audrey Kurth Cronin, distinguished professor in the School of International Service and director of the Center for Security, Innovation, and New Technology at American University; Charles A. Kupchan, CFR senior fellow and professor of international affairs in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government at Georgetown University; and Kori Schake, senior fellow and director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. James M. Lindsay, senior vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at CFR, moderated the discussion.


Commissioned from Gallup, a December 2019 survey by CFR and the National Geographic Society revealed that adult Americans exhibit gaps in their knowledge about geography and world affairs. While the report shows that U.S. adults have limited knowledge about these topics, seven in ten respondents consider international issues to be relevant to their daily lives and express a desire to promote education in these areas.


CFR partners with educational institutions and research centers to foster a deeper understanding of international relations and an enduring interest in U.S. foreign policy.


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