International Relations

  • United States
    Higher Education Webinar: Disability Inclusion on Campus and in International Affairs
    Ashley Holben, interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and executive specialist to the chief executive officer at Mobility International USA, leads the conversation on disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, if you’d like to share it with your colleagues. You can enable the closed captioning by clicking on the icon on your laptop or on your iPad in the “More” button. If you click on that you can show captions. So I encourage you to do that. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Ashley Holben with us today to discuss disability inclusion on campus and in international affairs. Ms. Holben is interim manager and project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, and executive specialist to the CEO at Mobility International USA. In these roles, she develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange. So, Ashley, thanks very much for being with us. Let’s just get right to it. If you could discuss and share with us the importance of disability inclusion in higher education institutions and international affairs, and share what you have found to be some of the best practices to do so on college campuses. HOLBEN: Certainly. Well, thank you so much, Irina, and thanks so much to the entire CFR team for putting this topic on the agenda of this webinar series. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to discuss an often misunderstood topic but a very prominent community, which is people with disabilities in higher education. And so really appreciate all of those who are joining today to tune in, and welcome. And, you know, the CFR team shared with me the roster of folks who were planning to attend and one thing that really stood out to me is kind of the really wide breadth of expertise and departments represented and positions represented. So it’s really encouraging to see so many different types of leadership wanting to discuss this further and wanting to share practices. So I’m looking forward to doing that today and I really hope to hear from some of those who are tuning in with your expertise and observations and activities as well, and I am delighted to share some—just observations of my own in this role at the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE). As Irina said, this is a project that’s housed at Mobility International USA since 1995. But we’re sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, really, in order to promote the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the U.S. and other countries, and that is to say kind of to the end we provide tips and strategies for people with disabilities and international program staff on how to prepare for an inclusive international exchange. So, before I kind of dive in, I just wanted to define these terms a little bit because it’s not always clear what we mean by international exchange. But, basically, we’re talking about everything from study abroad, teach abroad, volunteering, research, professional visitor exchanges. Also, cultural like arts, sports programs. So try to picture a U.S. college student going abroad for a semester or an international student coming to the U.S., a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright scholars, and so on. And we’re—the genesis of this project is really because people with disabilities are taking advantage of these same opportunities as nondisabled people in order to advance their educational/career goals, their personal goals. And that kind of brings me to kind of another definition—a loose definition—that people often wonder, well, what do you mean by people with disabilities, and by that that includes people with physical or mobility disabilities, sensory disabilities, chronic health conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities. That includes mental health disabilities, neurodiversity learning disabilities. And then keep in mind that disabilities can be apparent or nonapparent. And then also somebody’s disability might be apparent certain times and not others—for example, if they use assistive devices on some days but don’t need them on other days. So one topic that I really—is close to our hearts in our world is this theme of disability as diversity, and I saw on the roster—I was really excited to see that there were some folks who registered who are, for example, the director of diversity and inclusion, DEI specialists, and so on, and it’s so encouraging to see that higher education is really embracing this diversity, equity, and inclusion, implementing DEI strategies kind of throughout all areas of higher ed. And so, with this in mind it’s really vital to recognize that disability is part of diversity and not separate from it. Too often folks want to separate the two. Or, disability is an aspect of diversity that can get overlooked in diversity initiatives, we find, too often. So that inclusion of people with disabilities is really fundamental to be able to—and acting on that commitment to diversity at the institutional level. And then, for many, disability is an important facet of their identity, connecting someone to a larger disability community—for instance, disability pride, disability culture, history, and more. So it’s really important to keep that in mind in any discussion related to DEI. And just as important, many people with disabilities have identities in addition to their disability identity. So, for example, a person with a disability can also be a person of color, a first-generation college student, LGBTQ, an immigrant. And so one thing that we find often when we’re talking to people with disabilities about their experience is, there was so much focus on my disability that we completely forgot—(laughs)—to talk about these other aspects of myself that are important to me. So I think that’s definitely a good lesson. If anyone out there is more interested in this topic of disability intersectionality, I want to just kind of do a little plug for a publication that I’m really excited about that we put forth last year on Intersections Abroad, which I’m holding up to the screen. I think it might be blurred out, unfortunately, but—(laughs)—oh, here we go. FASKIANOS: It’s a little blurry but we’ll— HOLBEN: It’s a little blurry. FASKIANOS: (Inaudible)—anyway. HOLBEN: But it’s Intersections Abroad: “Travelers with disabilities explore identity and diversity through a lens of international exchange.” So it’s a series of travelers’ stories, interviews with people with different types of disabilities including people who are blind or have chronic health conditions or who are on the autism spectrum but who also want to describe what their study abroad experiences in different countries was like as a person of color or as someone with a religious identity or someone who brings all these unique experiences to their international exchange experience itself. For those of you who—I know we have a lot of different folks joining the call. On the higher education campus, people with disabilities not only includes students but also faculty, staff, administrators, campus leaders, visitors, and institutions often have dedicated staff or offices to support individual level disability accommodations and also to promote disability access more broadly across campus. So I noticed some folks who registered for this event come from, for example, Office of Student Accessibility, Office of Disability Services, Office of Student Support and Success. We had—I saw an access and accommodations coordinator, an ADA compliance coordinator. So these are all some examples of the types of folks who are working to help promote access at the—in higher education. You can also find counseling centers, tutoring centers. There are a growing number of campuses that are providing services tailored for students on the autism spectrum and also those that are tailored for students with intellectual disabilities, which is really interesting. And if you want to learn more about that I encourage you to check out the organization Think College. But in addition to campus accessibility and disability support services you’re going to find other entities that help promote disability community, disability history, disability rights, representation and visibility. For example, student groups led by and for students with disabilities. I saw one of the registrants—there were a couple of registrants on this event who are representing the Harvard Law School Project on Disability to, as they describe, use their learning in comparative and international law to advance understanding regarding disability law, policy, and education around the world. So it’s really exciting to see just kind of all the different ways in which higher education can support and promote disability access and inclusion in different ways in representation. Another topic that we are really passionate about at the NCDE is disability-inclusive campus internationalization, especially when it comes to the international exchange aspect of internationalization. So take education abroad, for instance. For the most part, I think a huge bulk of our resources relate to students—college students with disabilities who study abroad. That’s a big chunk of our resources, and we get a lot of questions about that from international exchange administrators and international study abroad advisors and coordinators about how can we provide some support to these students who want to study abroad who might have some specific disability-related accommodations they might need abroad, or everything from how can we attract students with disabilities to participate in our programs, and so on. So you’re going to find a lot of those types of resources in our library. But, education abroad that can also encompass faculty with disabilities leading trips abroad, and it’s really exciting to be able to connect with some faculty with disabilities who can share some of their stories with us about arranging these types of exchange programs. And the programs that they’re leading may or may not have a disability theme, depending on what their scholarly background is. However, I’ve observed that some education abroad curricula does include disability-related themes. So one example is at California State University in Northridge. One of their faculty led an exchange program called “Black Deaf Activism: Culture and Education in South Africa,” bringing together a lot of students from their campus who identify either as deaf, as Black, or both, and more. So that was really exciting to follow their journey through South Africa, again, with those different lenses. And then, of course, people with disabilities working in the international exchange field—in the international education field as advisors, administrators, and more, and that’s always something that we get really excited about at the Clearinghouse. We kind of proselytize a little bit to people with disabilities about, oh, have you thought about entering a career in international education so that we can see more disability representation and leadership within that field. A lot of students with disabilities are—and without disabilities are kind of blown away in a good way to see some of that disability representation in the kind of leadership level of that field and so that’s something that we try to encourage in some different ways that I’ll get to a little later. And then on the flip side of education abroad we also want to see disability-inclusive campus internationalization in the form of international student recruitment, so welcoming international students and scholars with disabilities to U.S. higher education, and that comprises another large segment of the resources housed at NCDE. So for those of you who advise international students and scholars on your campus or who are connected to the recruiting side to bring students with disabilities to the U.S., or bring international students to us, ESL offices and instructors. We want to work with them to make sure that they’re aware of the international students with disabilities. These are fantastic opportunities for them, too, and but they also might have some different cultural expectations related to disability. They might be used to a different type of system of accessibility and accommodations or a lack thereof. And, most recently we’ve talked to a lot of international students who are expressing an interest in connecting with other students with disabilities during their stay in the U.S., whether it’s other American students or other international students with disabilities. And so one thing that we’re excited to do in the near future is think of some ways that maybe we can help facilitate these types of connections on kind of a peer-mentor type model. Another focus of campus internationalization can be offering coursework on international disability rights. One prominent example in my mind is the University of Oregon’s “Global Perspectives on Disability” course because it’s co-taught by MIUSA’s own CEO, Susan Sygall, who is a woman with a disability, and what’s interesting is that that course is cross listed on campus with international studies, special education, and disability studies. So, you know, disability is such a cross-cutting issue. There’s really no topic or department or educational focus that doesn’t—that can’t touch upon disability, inclusion, and access. And so the “Global Perspectives on Disability” course at the U of O is one that’s been running for several years and it’s fantastic. We’re able to bring some guest presenters who are often disabled women leaders from countries around the world to share about their experiences in disability rights, disability policy, movement building, and so on. And then, one last example I’ll share, but not to say the last one, is access to foreign language learning and ESL and really ensuring that, you know, those are so vital to promoting campus internationalization and often they’re linked to these international exchange experiences, education abroad, and so on. But, sometimes we hear from people with disabilities that they were discouraged from taking a foreign language class because of assumptions about what they’re able to do. So, for example, like a person who is deaf, there might be some assumptions that they can’t participate in a foreign language class. And so, we would really promote any person with a disability to see if learning a foreign language is something that would help further their goals, personal, career wise, or otherwise. And so, I do want to hear your—all of your questions and your—not just questions but also just sharing from your experiences. But before we do that, I do want to just say a little bit about NCDE resources so that you’re aware of what we have in our library. That is to say they all touch on this crossover of disability inclusion in international exchange and include everything from tips for recruiting people with disabilities in international exchange programs, disability-specific tips for international travel. So, if your wheelchair gets broken when you’re abroad, what might you do? Or, what are some different types of accommodations that a blind student might use or someone with dyslexia might use? Best practices from various U.S. higher education institutions. And I think that’s going to really appeal to the folks who are on this webinar today. We have—just like we’ve been able to interview international exchange alumni, students who’ve come back from their experiences abroad, and others, we’ve also really relied on higher ed professionals to share their best practices with us because, really, our resource is a compendium of expertise from the field. And so I would really encourage anyone here who maybe they have a best practice to share from their own campus that they’re working on and we would love to be able to add that as a resource to be able to share with our broader community. So if that’s of interest please get in touch. We also offer sample disability accommodation forms and questionnaires, which is really handy for those out there who are wanting to start a conversation around disability access but maybe don’t know the—don’t have the vocabulary or don’t have the language. These are kind of helpful guides that can help you take those next steps. And then, finally, one thing that I am really excited to share because this is a new—relatively new initiative on our part is we’ve started hosting an access to exchange externship for—and this is a resource you can share with your students—this is for students with disabilities, recent graduates and others, who want to use their experiences to further the mission to promote disability inclusion in international exchange. So they’re tasked with coming up with some kind of either a webinar or event or a country guide, some kind of resource that can help further this mission. And so some of them have created resources for peers like prospective study abroad students with disabilities or for the folks who are working in the international education field so that they can be more cognizant of—you know, from a disabled person’s point of view what are the supports needed or what can they be doing. And then our seminar—access to exchange seminar is for people with disabilities who have not had any international exchange experiences and, you know, or maybe it’s a little intimidating to take that first step, and so our seminar is really just trying to break it down and make it feel a little bit more comfortable to ask questions and help try to just instill some confidence in future international exchange participants with disabilities. So, well, let me stop there for the time being and let me put it to all of you. What I’d like to know is, given, again, just this very—all of the different types of departments and expertise that you’re all bringing with you today what are some of your own experiences, observations, activities, around disability inclusion on your campus and in international affairs. So I’d really like to hear from you all and I wonder if anyone would like to start. FASKIANOS: Great. Great. Thank you, Ashley. This is terrific and, yes, we want to go to everybody on the call. You can click the raised hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or tablet click the more button to access the raised hand feature, and when I call on you, you can accept the unmute prompt. Please state your name and affiliation followed by your question. You can also write your question in the Q&A box. If you do that, please say who you are. And we do have our first written question from Pearl Robinson, who is an associate professor at Tufts University: Does the Peace Corps offer opportunities for people with disabilities? HOLBEN: Thank you for that question. Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Absolutely. The Peace Corps encourages people with disabilities to participate in—as volunteers and, indeed, we have seen so many returned Peace Corps volunteers with disabilities come back and share their experiences. I think I referred earlier to a person who was discouraged from learning a language because she’s deaf, and she often shares, she really pushed back against that, insisted she wants to learn French and one of the happy results of her advocating for herself to be able to pursue French despite being discouraged from doing so is it enabled her to be able to serve in the Peace Corps in Francophone Cameroon, which was a life-changing event for her. And, actually, I know that there is an upcoming webinar that’s going to be hosted by a Peace Corps staff on volunteers with disabilities that will feature a number of returned Peace Corps volunteers. And so if that—I think that is coming up pretty soon. So I’ll share that information with Pearl individually or unless other people are interested I can share with you, Irina. But also the Peace Corps also has opportunities for shorter-term programs for folks with unique expertise and who have a specific area of specialized focus. And so we recently interviewed someone who took part in that program—it’s called Peace Corps Response—which worked out really well for her because she has some chronic health conditions and mobility disabilities that made that format work quite well for her. But, yes, we have lots of returned Peace Corps stories on our website about people with different types of disabilities who served and it’s really fun to read their stories and just really eye-opening as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have another question from Deena Mansour with the Mansfield Center: We’ve appreciated using some of your resources on our State Department exchanges. Could you speak to some of the most important ways you prepared others in a cohort, a predeparture orientation to support a colleague with disabilities, given that many countries have less—far less exposure and support than we have had in the U.S.? HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yeah. I would say—and that’s fantastic that you’re working with—being able to implement State Department exchanges as well. We’re really excited by any time we can provide resources related to, for instance, the Global UGRAD program or the Mandela Fellowship or Fulbright, whatever it might be. And then, as for predeparture orientations, this has been a topic that we’ve explored both in terms of international students coming to the U.S., which we just kind of put—created some new resources for that. But it sounds like what you’re asking is for folks going abroad—maybe coming from the U.S. and going abroad. I think it’s just really important that people with disabilities who are preparing to go abroad are—have a chance to research a bit about the country’s disability rights—not only disability rights laws but disability culture and context. We really encourage folks to try to do outreach to a disability-led organization, if possible, and some people who’ve been able to do that it’s led to a really fruitful relationship and really enhanced their experience to be able to meet with local people with disabilities who can share kind of the real experience on the ground, what it might be like. I think a lot of people are also—maybe aren’t prepared for just the feeling of kind of being—standing out and others are unprepared for—well, just to use an example from our Intersections Abroad publication that I shared earlier, one student who studied abroad who is blind, she really thought that people would only be interested in her blindness and only have questions about her blindness, and she was really surprised that when she arrived people had wanted to know about other things about her, too. And so I think just allowing some room for all aspects of yourself there can be really beneficial. It’s something that sounds simple but people might forget. And so kind of evaluating different identities that you have, what you want to get out of the experience. But it sounds like what you’re asking about is kind of more just on-the-ground—those logistics, those environmental barriers. And you can’t foresee all of them, but I think just one thing that’s really helpful is just getting an idea of, how do people in that destination approach disability access because, if you call a hotel or something like that and you say is this going to be disability accessible, I really encourage just trying to get a little bit more specific, because they might say yes because their idea of disability access is having some burly people lift you up over some stairs, whereas that might not be at all your idea of accessibility. And so some of these things you’re not going to know until you arrive. But if you can connect with another—a person with a similar disability who has traveled abroad or someone who has gone to the place where you’re going that can really be helpful, or talking to locals with disabilities. And then our resource library, that’s one of the things that, I think—I really hope is helpful to folks planning their trips abroad is to be able to read about the experiences of other travelers and kind of the types of things unexpected that they encountered during their travels that might help other folks just get into that mindset of what might be on the horizon. FASKIANOS: There’s a question from Kwaku Obosu-Mensah at Lorain County Community College: Do students with disabilities need special insurance to travel abroad in an exchange program? HOLBEN: That’s a great—thanks for that question. Not always. Some students who have maybe chronic health conditions have been able—sometimes their study abroad program, for instance, has been able to negotiate, like, a group rate of health insurance for—for example, if it’s a group of students who are going abroad, in case there’s some additional coverage needed related to preexisting conditions or disabilities. However, we’re also seeing a best practice in the form of international exchange departments and offices budgeting for some funds to be able to provide for students with disabilities in those instances where something’s not going to be covered by. It’s kind of an extenuating circumstance, whether it’s related to getting access to health care, kind of an emergency fund, or being able to help pay for some private transportation when the local public transportation is not accessible, to use a couple of examples. So I think you’re going to have to—it’s really important to check with the insurance company and find out what their policies are around that but also to consider negotiating what they’re able to cover to be as inclusive as possible. And that’s not always going to be able to happen in that way, in which case those contingency funds are going to help supplement whatever the insurance is not able to. FASKIANOS: Great. And people can also raise their hand and ask their questions and share best practices. But I will have another question—written question—from Kimberly Pace, University of Alaska Anchorage, which goes along with Kwaku’s question, which was—you just answered about health care for students—faculty with disabilities when engaged in study abroad programs. So it’d be great if you could elaborate on that. HOLBEN: So, with health care, I guess just some additional considerations related to health includes mental health. Some folks with chronic health conditions might need to just get some—do some extra preparation—not only chronic health conditions but other types of disabilities. People with disabilities planning to go abroad will sometimes need to just take some extra steps for preparation, for example, those who are taking medications in the U.S. Certain types of ADHD medications in the U.S. are not legal in certain countries where people study abroad, and so trying to get information about what types of health care you’re able to receive abroad, what types of prescriptions you’re able to bring into the country abroad, working with your health care professionals about whether or not to adjust any medications prior to travel, and then where are you going to be able to access medical supplies in case yours get depleted or are lost or stolen or break—you know, where to go if your mobility equipment breaks. And we do have some tip sheets kind of on these different types of disability topics related to, what happens if you get into this dilemma, how can you try to, for example, keep your mobility equipment or your medications—how do you travel with those things in such a way that kind of helps mitigate some of the risks of having things break or confiscated or flagged or whatever it might be. So it’s not, like, a simple answer but it’s absolutely really important predeparture. Part of the —it’s part of the research. It’s part of the process for going abroad and, unfortunately, it typically means building in some extra time for planning to go abroad. So we always encourage students with disabilities, even if you think you might possibly go abroad at some point in your college career it’s not too early to start planning for it now and start looking into some of these questions, and some of the guides that we have on our website are helpful just for thinking through what those questions might be because, as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And people will often think, well, I’ve got that taken care of, no problem. But they’re only considering it from a home environment perspective and not really thinking about how, well, is the host city infrastructure going to be able to support this accessibility software that I use or whatever it might be. So not just in terms of health care but other types of accommodations as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Can you elaborate on the difference between access and inclusion? I think it would be helpful to give those. HOLBEN: Well, I don’t think there needs to be a broad difference. But one thing that I would want to emphasize is, there’s—on one hand, we’re talking about disability inclusion and how can we make sure that—they’re really—they go hand in hand. Inclusion is how can people with disabilities access these—all of the same programs, all of the same services—really, just kind of everything that nondisabled people can access and—but I think inclusion is not quite the full picture. It’s not really enough. And so what we would say is how can we go beyond inclusion—the inclusion piece—which is just making sure can you participate to sometimes you have to kind of take the first step to get people with disabilities to see these things as belonging to them or see these—sometimes people will self-select out of things because they’ve grown up with these messages that this isn’t for them, or they have to wait until it’s a special disability-focused program or activity for them to participate. And so one message that we tell people with disabilities is to kind of think of it as an infiltration where you’re, like, find these nondisability-focused activities and if you want to be part of it then be part of it. But on the flip side, we’re also thinking a lot about reverse infiltration, which is the folks that are managing different projects and opportunities and activities sometimes you might have to go out of your way a little bit to invite in people from the disability community, meet them where they are, really make sure that they are expected, anticipated. So it’s not really just enough to say, well, we wouldn’t turn a person with a disability away so that makes us inclusive but, really, how can you be more proactive and intentional in your strategy to make sure that disability is represented. So I think that that would be one distinction. And then, furthermore, beyond just disability inclusion—are they participating—then I think another important step to look at is disability leadership, and so that’s kind of where—why I say we get really excited when people with disabilities are entering leadership positions in higher education, whether that’s working in the study abroad office or as faculty leaders and others who are taking part in these decision-making roles and, how can we create kind of a pipeline for people with disabilities to become leaders in these different areas and be that kind of next generation of leadership. So I would keep that at the forefront as well. FASKIANOS: Great. HOLBEN: And, you know— FASKIANOS: Uh-huh. HOLBEN: Oh, go ahead. FASKIANOS: Oh, I was just going to call on Kimberly Pace. She raised her hand. HOLBEN: Oh, perfect. Yes. Looking forward to hear Kimberly. FASKIANOS: From the University of Alaska Anchorage. Q: That’s brilliant. Oh, I’m just so appreciative of this forum, and thank you both so much. As a person with a physical disability it never occurred to me as a college student to ever go—even ask the question about study abroad and I—certainly, you’re blowing my mind that there are resources to allow students to do this. I teach international relations and comparative politics, and I am just beyond giddy that there—(laughter)—are options for students because that’s something that, personally, I, you know, never got to experience and never, certainly, was encouraged to do that. So I’m very excited. I just want to say thank you very much for the information. So thank you. HOLBEN: We’re right there with you, Kimberly, as far as the giddy factor. And, you know, thank you so much for sharing that experience because, actually, that is—I think that inclusive, that welcoming, encouraging messaging is so important and we kind of go into detail about that on one of our tip sheets about inclusive recruitment. But even just something as simple as a message on an opportunity that says people with disabilities encouraged to apply, you never know who that’s going to make all the difference in the world to and one prime example is our organization, Mobility International USA, might not exist if our CEO, who is a wheelchair rider, hadn’t done her Rotary exchange program in Australia, which kind of spawned this idea of what Mobility International USA should be, and what led her to participate in that Rotary exchange program was seeing just a simple ad in the newspaper that said people with disabilities encouraged to apply. And who was responsible for putting in that little line? We’re not sure. But it kind of led to this chain of events that kind of brought us to where we are here. And, you know, there are so many folks in the field in higher education who are—they don’t have all the answers and they don’t have a lot of—they might not have personal experience with disability. But I think if they can help be a champion, an ally, and be kind of someone who says, well, let’s figure this out, or let’s see what’s possible and not shut it down, I think that that’s often what has led to all of these amazing outcomes and impact stories from the folks who have shared their experiences with us on our website and then who knows how many more are out there. So, sounds simple, but it can have an important impact. FASKIANOS: So we have a written question from Mark Scheinbaum, who’s at the Florida International University: What updates or guidance do you have for students with de jure and/or de facto comfort pets that are needed for completion of usual and customary academic tasks? HOLBEN: If you can leave the questions up a little longer. Then I can— FASKIANOS: Oh, sure. Sure. Sorry. HOLBEN: That’s OK. FASKIANOS: I’ll put it back. HOLBEN: Well, I would just, first of all, make sure that you’re familiarizing yourself with the distinction between—you kind of use two different terms here. So there are comfort animals or emotional support animals, and then there are service animals, which are trained to do a specific service. Comfort animals and emotional support animals aren’t necessarily trained to perform a specific service related to a disability-related accommodation whereas a service animal is. So maybe that service is helping to detect the onset of an epileptic seizure, or the service is being able to help the person open doors or pick up items from the floor, or, of course, sight dogs for folks who are blind or visually impaired, for mobility. And so, anyway, that’s going to be a really key distinction for whether or not it’s going to be appropriate to have a service animal or an emotional support animal in a higher education setting, and especially that becomes more complicated when you’re talking about going abroad to another country where you’re also considering factors—not just the laws but also the cultural factors whether dogs are welcome in every restaurant or if it’s an animal that’s very taboo and you don’t keep them as pets, let alone travel around with them. And so all of those questions are going to come into play. We do have some tip sheets on our website that go into more detail around some preparation for bringing animals abroad, what you should know related to quarantine, vaccinations, and things like that. So search for animals on the MIUSA website to access some of those tips. FASKIANOS: Great, and we’ll send out links to that section, Ashley, after this so people can access it easier. HOLBEN: Oh, great. Yeah. FASKIANOS: So another written question from Erin Reed, and I will leave it up so you can see it— HOLBEN: Oh, thanks. FASKIANOS:—who’s the student services and admissions advisor/DSO at California State University San Marcos: What are your suggestions for a university study abroad program that is not made aware of a student’s disability prior to the student’s arrival? HOLBEN: I think my number-one suggestion would be rather than waiting for one student to participate start thinking about it now what are some ways we can build in some inclusive practices into our programming. So one thing that some programs might do is, well, maybe people aren’t disclosing their disability because we’re not giving them the opportunity to do so. So including questions in some of those post-acceptance forums that ask how can we make this program—how can we help set you up for success in this program. Might also ask specifically, including related to disability accommodations so that folks know that—I think it’s really important for prospective students or otherwise to just know that they’re being anticipated, that someone is thinking, yes, like, we’re totally expecting that at some point some students with disabilities will participate in this program. And I think that that can be—really signal to students, OK, this—we’re coming from a place that or we’re going to be interacting with folks who are anticipating me and, even if they don’t know all the answers to my questions they’re not going to shut me down. So I think that some of those types of—whether it’s just amending some of your forms or putting information on your program website, having inclusive images such as if there are images of people with apparent disabilities participating in the program, seeing themselves reflected in those images can be just as important as an inclusive written message. Let me go back to that question. Sorry. It went away again. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: If you click on the answered question. HOLBEN: I got it. Yeah. FASKIANOS: OK. And then I have two more written questions. Everybody’s sending in their questions at the end here. (Laughs.) HOLBEN: But just also, going back to Erin Reed’s question, if the program—it sounds like, we didn’t know that there was a student with a disability planning to arrive. Now we—we have this—these things that we need to figure out in the meantime. One more thing I’ll just say about how to maybe avoid that situation is working with—oh, this is so important—collaborating with the disability services office and other similar services on the campus to be able to arrange some kind of system. So a lot of institutions—for example, their study abroad offices will share a list of all of the students who are enrolled in study abroad for that upcoming semester and they’ll share it with the disability services office so that they can kind of go through and say, oh, well, we recognize—and this is all just privately on the disability services side to protect the students’ privacy—but they will kind of flag, oh, this is a student that we work with. And so what they might then do is connect with that student directly and say, hey, we learned that you’re going abroad—do you want to talk about some of the questions you might have or is there anything that we can do to support you and can we—are you comfortable with inviting those—the international advisors into this conversation so that we can just kind of put everything out in the open and we can figure out all the best ways to support the—that student. So, I would say, that’s so important that we used to at NCDE pay people to take each other to lunch from the study abroad office and the disability services office because too often we heard, oh, yeah, they’re just right across the—you know, their office is literally right over there. I can see them from our office. But we’ve never talked to them or—and we don’t really know what they do. So I think just to have it breaking some of that ice early on and not waiting for the time when there’s a student with a disability there but just kind of building that into your process, and that can also be helpful for collecting data as well. The Institute for International Education has an annual Open Door survey that provides data and statistics around who is participating in an international exchange and they’ve started including a question—some questions related to disability so that, hopefully, over time we can kind of see is disability—are people with disabilities being represented in international exchange in greater numbers, what types of disabilities do they have, and so on. So working with the disability support office is one great way to also collect that type of information too, which is going to really help the field and, hopefully, help more people with disabilities to be able to participate in international exchange. FASKIANOS: So we have a question from Andrew Moran from London Metropolitan University: In the U.K. inclusion is not just about access or being in a classroom. It is also about inclusive assessment methods. I wonder if you have any resources—if you know of any resources that suggest assessment methods that would allow neurodiverse or physically disabled students to fully engage and not be excluded. They’ve done away with exams because you can’t rely on an elevator to work to get to an exam room, let alone the barriers in the exam might pose for neurodiverse students. And he’s leading a working group on allowing students to choose, create their own assessment method to enable greater diversity and meet students’ needs but always looking for new ideas. HOLBEN: Oh, that’s really interesting. Thanks so much for sharing that, Andrew, and for sharing the example at your own institution as well. And I would love to hear other folks respond to this, too. As far as—one, again, I would really encourage you to check out Think College as a prospective resource for—especially just because you mention neurodiverse students. So Think College operates at different campuses right now—for now, I think, only in the U.S. Perhaps their network is growing beyond that as well. But it’s kind of this network of professionals who work with—to try to get students not only with intellectual disabilities but also those who are neurodiverse, including those who are on the autism spectrum. And so they are really a fantastic source of expertise for everything from inclusive education or specialized support and accommodations and pedagogy. So I think that they would be probably the ones to connect with about this question in particular. But if other folks have other ideas in response to Andrew, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it. And maybe while we’re thinking of that, we’ll check out this next one. FASKIANOS: Right. McKennah Andrews with the Mansfield Center: We have a blind participant on an upcoming international program taking place here in the U.S., and MIUSA’s resources have been so valuable. Can we touch on the topic of personal assistants? What advice or testimonies might you have regarding engaging with personal assistants during a program? HOLBEN: Yes, absolutely. So personal assistants can look like a couple—many different things, actually. You might even—since you mentioned having a blind participant, this might not be what you meant but some—for some folks who are blind they may have had some sighted guides during their exchange programs abroad. So that’s another example where a student who—or a person who is used to one type of access accommodation or assistive devices or technology in their home environment might have to look into some different ones for their host environment. So we’ve known some people who are really—have great cane skills for orientation and mobility and strong independent mobility skills in their home environment but have felt more comfortable having the program help arrange a sighted guide for them when they’re going to, perhaps, countries where—or environments that are a little more chaotic or where, for whatever reason, their usual skills might not work out. Or, again, if that person uses a service dog in—or service animal in their home environment and that wouldn’t really be feasible in the home environment then having that kind of human guide or a personal assistant might be one method that they look into. Personal assistants might also provide everyday living services—you know, feeding or using the bathroom or just getting ready throughout the day, assisting with lifting and transferring, and that’s going to—might—again, as somebody who—we’ve seen some instances where people in the U.S. who don’t use personal assistant services might opt for that when they’re going to a place where, you know, they might need to be lifted more often because the infrastructure is not as—going to be as smooth or not as accessible. And so we’ve seen different situations where sometimes they are—the personal assistant in question is someone they’ve worked with a long time in the U.S. Sometimes it might be a peer who attends their school. Sometimes it’s a parent who travels. I’ve definitely seen all kind of different types of—oh, and also a local person that’s hired in the country to provide personal assistant care. So it’s really interesting just to kind of be aware of all of the different ways that that might look and check out—again, we have a specific tip sheet about that—actually, a series related to personal assistant services. So, yes, we can talk about personal assistant services and we have kind of a suite of resources related to that so there’s a lot that can be said. So thanks for bringing that up. FASKIANOS: Terrific. We are almost out of time, and I did see that there was a raised hand from Justice Chuckwu— HOLBEN: Fantastic. Let’s hear from Justice. FASKIANOS: —disability rights, Oregon. He lowered his hand but—oh, there we go. And if you can ask it quickly and unmute yourself that would be great. HOLBEN: I think we’ve met before, Justice. Hello. HOLBEN: Oh, hi. There’s Justice. Q: Hello. HOLBEN: Hello. Q: Yeah, I think we met a couple times. Yeah. So my name is Justice and, yeah, I’m so much appreciative of this program. And I always have a simple question and the question is how do we—how do we unify orientation for international students with disabilities, given the fact that they come from different backgrounds and most times there are just maybe one or two or three in one university or one college and may not be able to really understand the environment early enough. Maybe by the time they would get to understand the environment they might be getting to the mid-semester. So my question is, is there a way to kind of unify the orientation, especially since we now have online—things could be done online to unify the orientation to make sure that students—international students with disabilities are not left behind. HOLBEN: Mmm hmm. Yes. Thank you, Justice. And, actually, it was your bringing that to light that kind of got—we started incorporating that question into some of our resources and, in fact, you helped contribute to one of our webinars on this very topic of support for international students with disabilities coming to different campuses in which you kind of described that feeling of how do I connect with other people with disabilities, especially other international students with disabilities, who might be able to share in some of these experiences so I don’t feel so alone in this. And I really—that really sparked a lot of ideas but one of which is, might there be some kind of opportunity for a student group of international students with disabilities but bringing together students from different campuses to be able to share their experiences. And so that’s something that we at the NCDE are exploring more. But as for existing resources, in addition to the webinar that Justice contributed to we also added some others related to just sharing some best practices from our—MIUSA leads an orientation for high school exchange students with disabilities who are arriving to the U.S. for a State Department-funded scholarship program and we—as part of this orientation we incorporate information about your rights as a person with disabilities while you’re in the U.S. and how to advocate for yourself if there’s something that you need but aren’t getting, how to fully participate in all of the opportunities while you’re there. So I think that those are the—some of the same messages that could be really beneficial to folks entering U.S. higher education from different parts of the world and just learning about U.S. disability culture and those steps for taking advantage of all of the resources available to you. So, yeah, you’re absolutely right, Justice. There’s more work to be done, and I think folks like you who are voicing kind of those needs—those firsthand gaps that you’ve identified is kind of one of the first steps in helping to build out some of these resources. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are out of time. In fact, we’re a little over. HOLBEN: Oh. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: So, Ashley Holben, thank you so much for doing this. We really appreciate it, and to all of you for your questions and comments. Again, we will be sending out a link to this webinar transcript as well as to the resources that Ashley mentioned. So stay tuned for that. Our next Higher Education Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Jeremi Suri, who will lead a conversation on teaching the history of American democracy. And just please do follow us at @CFR_Academic and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Ashley, again, thank you very much for doing this. We appreciate it. HOLBEN: Thank you. Thank you for—to everyone who attended for your time and thanks to CFR for getting this on the agenda. I really appreciate it also. FASKIANOS: Great. We look forward to everybody continuing to participate in this Higher Education Webinar series. Have a good rest of your day. (END)
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    Academic Webinar: Religious Literacy in International Affairs
    Susan Hayward, associate director of the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, leads the conversation on religious literacy in international affairs.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to the final session of the Fall 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, if you would like to share it with your classmates or colleagues. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Susan Hayward with us to discuss religious literacy in international affairs. Reverend Hayward is the associate director for the Religious Literacy and Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School. From 2007 to 2021, she worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), with focus on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Columbia, and Iraq. And most recently serving as senior advisor for Religion and Inclusive Societies, and as a fellow in Religion and Public Life. During her tenure at USIP, Reverend Hayward also coordinated an initiative exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, partnership with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faith Development Dialogue. And she coedited a book on the topic entitled Women, Religion and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen. Reverend Hayward has also taught at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and serves as a regular guest lecturer and trainer at the Foreign Service Institute. And she’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. So, Susan, thank you very much for being with us today. Can you begin by explaining why religious literacy is so important for understanding international affairs? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Irina. And thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations for inviting me to be a part of this webinar. And I really appreciate you and the invitation, and I appreciate all of you who have joined us today, taking time out of what I know is a busy time of year, as we hurdle towards final exams and cramming everything into these last weeks of the semester. So it’s great to be with all of you. I am going to be—in answering that broad question that Irina offered, I’m going to be drawing on my work. As Irina said, I worked at the—I work now at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life Program. And what we seek to do here is to do here is to advance the public understanding of religion in service of a just world at peace. And we do that, in part, by working with professionals in governments and foreign policy, and in the humanitarian sector, as well as working with our students who are seeking to go into vocations in those professional spheres. And then my fourteen years with the Religion and Inclusive Societies Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. So I’ll say a little bit more about both of those as we go along, and those experiences, but I’m also happy to answer any questions about either of those programs when we turn to the Q&A. And I should say that I’m going to be focusing as well—given that a lot of you all who are joining us today are educators yourselves or are students—I’m going to be focusing in particular on how we teach religious literacy within international affairs. So I wanted to begin with the definition of religious literacy, because this is a term that is increasingly employed as part of a rallying cry that’s based on a particular diagnosis. And the diagnosis is that there has been insufficient deep consideration of the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs at all levels across the world. And that the result of that lack of a complex understanding of religion in this arena has been the—the hamstringing of the ability of the international system to operate in ways that are effective in bringing justice, peace, democracy, human rights, and development. So I’m going to circle back to that diagnosis in a bit. But first I want to jump to the prescription that’s offered, which is to enhance religious literacy using various resources, trainings, courses, and ways that are relevant for foreign policymakers and those working across the international system, as well as those students who are in the schools of international affairs, or other schools and planning to go into this space, into this profession. So the definition that we use here at Harvard Divinity School—and this is one that has been adopted by the American Academy of Religion, which is the scholarly guild for religious studies—defines it in this way: Religious literacy is the—entails the ability to discern and analyze the fundamental intersections of religion and social, political, and cultural life through multiple lenses. So specifically, one who is religious literate will possess a basic understanding of different religious traditions, including sort of fundamental beliefs and practices and contemporary manifestation of different religious traditions, as well as how they arose out of and continue to be shaped by particular social, historical, and cultural contexts. And the ability to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions across time and space. So this gets broken down in two different ways—three, according to me. But that definition focuses on two in particular. One is often referred to as the confessional approach or the substantive approach. So that’s looking at understanding different religious traditions and their manifestations in different places. That’s understanding something fundamental about the difference between Theravada Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism, for example. Or how Islam is practiced, and dominantly practiced in Nigeria, versus in North America, for example. The second approach is the religious studies approach. Which is sometimes also called the functional approach. So that’s the ability to be able to analyze the ways in which religions in complex ways are really intersecting with social, and political, and economic life, even if not explicitly so. But in implicit, embedded ways shaping different kinds of economic systems, social systems, and political systems, and being able to analyze and see that, and so ask particular questions and consider different kinds of policy solutions—diagnoses and solutions that can take that into account. And then finally, I add the religious engagement approach. That particularly comes out of my work when I was at USIP and working with foreign policymakers in the State Department and elsewhere. To some extent, overseas as well, those in the diplomatic sector. Which I understand is determining whether, when, and how to engage with specifically defined religious institutions, actors, and interests, including on issues related, for example, with religious freedom, in ways that are inclusive, just, strategic, and, importantly for the U.S. context, legal. So abiding by the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Now, all three types of religious literacy defined here depend on three principles or ideas. So the first is that they understand religions as lived, as constituted by humans who are constantly interpreting and reinterpreting their religious traditions. This means that as a result they are internally diverse, sometimes very internally contradictory. They’ll have different religious interpretations with respect to particular human rights issues, particular social issues, issues related to gender, and so on and so forth. That they change over time. That that sort of complex interpretive process that is going on within religious traditions also leads to kind of larger normative changes within religious traditions over history in different temporal contexts. And that they’re culturally embedded. So as the question I was asking earlier, how is Islam, as it’s understood and practiced in Nigeria, different from how it’s understood and practiced in North America, for example. There are ways in which the particular religious interpretations and practices of a tradition are always going to be entangled with specific cultural contexts in ways that are near impossible to disentangle at times. And that means that they just manifest differently in different places. And this—these ideas of religion as lived pushes against an understanding of religions as being static or being monolithic. So that then leads us to ensure that there’s never—that it’s always going to be a problem to make sweeping claims about entire religious traditions because you’ll always find somebody or some community within those religious traditions that don’t believe or practice according to the claim that you just made about it. And that applies to situations of violent conflict and with respect to human rights, on global issues like climate and migration. This idea, the internal diversity in particular, is what is at play when you hear the phrase “Ambivalence of the Sacred” that was coined by Scott Appleby in his—in this very influential book by the same name. I’ll throw in here a quote from Scott Appleby from that book, this idea that religions are always going to show up in ambivalent or contradictory ways across different places, but also sometimes in the very same contexts. So I think we can see that, for example, in the U.S. right now, and that there’s no one, let’s say, religious position with respect to reproductive rights, for example. There’s a great deal of internal plurality and ambivalence that exists across religious traditions and interpretations within the Christian tradition and beyond about that specific issue. Moreover then, what religion is, what is considered religious, what is recognized as religious and what isn’t, and how it manifests in different contexts depends on just a complex array of intersecting factors. I’m going to come back to—that’s kind of meaty phrase just to throw out there, so I’m going to come back to that in a minute. So the second principle or idea of religious literacy that I want to highlight here is the idea of right-sizing religion. This is a phrase that Peter Mandaville used quite a bit when he was in the State Department’s Religion and Global Affairs Office under the Obama administration and has written about. So I’ll turn you to that article of his to understand more about it. But the central idea is that we don’t want to over nor underemphasize religion’s role in any given context. So just by way of a quick example, in looking at the Rohingya crisis or the ethnic cleansing of Rakhine State in Myanmar, one could not say it was all about religion, that it was about Buddhist nationalists who are anti-Muslim wanting to destroy a particular religious community. Nor could you say it had nothing to do with religion, because there were these religious dimensions that were at play in driving the violence towards the Rohingya and the larger communities’ acceptance of that violence against the Rohingya community. But if you were to overemphasize the religious roles, the religious dimensions of that crisis, then your policy solutions—you might look at religious freedom tools and resources to be able to address the situation. And that would address the situation in part, but obviously there were other economic and political factors that were at play in leading to the Rohingya crisis. And including certain economic interests with oil pipelines that were being constructed across lands that the Rohingya were living on in Rakhine state, or the political conflict that was taking place between the military and the National League of Democracy, and so on. So addressing the crisis holistically and sustainably requires that we right-size the role that religion is playing in that particular crisis. And that goes across the board, in looking at conflicts and looking at the role of religion in climate, and addressing climate collapse, and so on and so forth. We need to always neither under nor overestimate the role that religion is playing in driving some of these issues and as a solution in addressing some of these issues. OK. So with that definition and principles of religious literacy in mind, I want to go back to the diagnosis that I gave at the—that I mentioned at the top, for which religious literacy is offered as a solution. The diagnosis, if you remember, was that there’s been insufficient consideration given to the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs. So I’m going to demonstrate what it means to apply the religious studies approach to religious literacy, or the functional approach to religious literacy, to help us understand why that might be. And remember, the religious studies approach is seeking to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions and understandings across time and place. So this approach, in trying to answer that question and consider that diagnosis, it would invite us to look historically at the development of the modern international legal and political systems in a particular time and place in Western Europe, during the European Enlightenment. As many of you may well know, this came about in the aftermath of the so-called confessional or religious wars. Those were largely understood to have pitted Protestants against Catholics, though it’s more complicated in reality. But broadly, that’s the story. And the modern state, on which the international system was built, sought to create a separation between religious and state authority. For the first time in European history, this separation between religious and state authority that became more rigid and enforced over time, in the belief that this was necessary in order to ensure peace and prosperity moving forward, to bring an end to these wars, and to ensure that the state would be better able to deal with the reality of increasing religious pluralism within Europe. So this was essentially the idea of secular political structures that was born in that time and place. And these secular political structures were considered to be areligious or neutral towards religion over time, again. In the process of legitimating this sort of revolutionary new model of the secular modern state, and in the process of creating this demarcated distinction that had not previously existed—at least, not a neat distinction of the secular or the political authority and the religious—the religious authority—there was an assertion as part of that ideologically legitimate and support that. There was an assertion of the secular as rational, ordered, and associated with all of the good stuff of modernity. Meanwhile, the religious was defined in counter-distinction as a threat to the secular. It was irrational, backwards, a threat to the emerging order. A not-subtle presumption in all of this is that the new modern state and the international system would serve as a bulwark against archaic, dangerous, religious, and other traditionally cultural, in particular, worldviews and practices in—it would be a bulwark against that, and a support for this neutral and considered universal international law and system—secular system. Now, I realize I’m making some, like, huge, broad historical sweeps here, given the short amount of time I have. But within that story I just told, there is a lot more complexity that one can dig into. But part of what I seek to do in offering religious literacy in international relations theory and practice to students, and to practitioners in this realm, is to help those operating in the system think through how that historically and contextually derived conception of religion and the co-constitutive conception of secularism continues to operate within and shape how we interpret and respond to global events within the system. And this occurs—I see this happening in two dominant ways. One is, first, in thinking about religion as a distinct sphere of life that can be disentangled entirely from the political, when in reality religion is deeply entangled with the political, and vice versa. And scholars like Talal Asad and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd have done really great work to show how even our understanding of the secular and secular norms and so on is shaped by Protestant Christian commitments and understandings. And saying within that, our understanding of what religion is—like, a focus on belief, for example, which has been codified in a lot of religious freedom law, as part of the international system—again, tends to emphasize Protestant Christian understandings of what religion is and how it functions. So that’s the first reason for doing that. And then second, in understanding religion to be a threat to modernity, and sometimes seeing and responding to it as such rather than taking into account its complexity, its ambivalence, the ways in which it has been a powerful force for good, and bad, and everything in between, and in ways that sometimes let the secular off the hook for ways that it has driven forms of violence, colonialism, gender injustice, global inequalities, the climate crisis, and so on. So those are the consequences of when we don’t have that religious literacy, of those potential pitfalls. And, on that second point, of the ways in which religion continues to be defined in ways that can overemphasize its negative aspect at time within the international system, I commend the work of William Cavanaugh in particular and his book, The Myth of Religious Violence to dig into that a little bit more. So what we’re seeking to do, in bringing that kind of religious literacy to even thinking about the international system and its norms and how it operates, is to raise the consciousness of what Donna Haraway calls the situatedness of the international system, the embedded agendas and assumptions that inevitably operate within it. And it invites students to be skeptical of any claims to the systems neutrality about religion, how it’s defined, and how it’s responded to. So I recognize that that approach is very deconstructionist work. It’s informed by, post-colonial critical theory, which reflects where religious studies has been for the last couple decades. But importantly, it doesn’t, nor shouldn’t ideally, lead students to what is sometimes referred to as analysis paralysis, when there’s sort of groundedness within hypercritical approaches, only looking at the complexity to a degree that it’s hard to understand how to move forward then to respond constructively to these concerns. Rather, the purpose is to ensure that they’re more conscious of these underlying embedded norms or assumptions so that they can better operate within the system in just ways, not reproducing forms of Eurocentrism, Christo-centrism, or forms of cultural harm. So the hope is that it helps students to be able to better critique the ways in in which religion and secularism is being—are being discussed, analyzed, or engaged within international affairs, and then be able to enter into those kinds of analysis, policymaking, program development, and so on, in ways that can help disrupt problematic assumptions and ensure that the work of religious literacy or religious engagement is just. So I’m just going to offer one example of how this kind of critical thinking and critical—the way of thinking complexly about religion in this space can be fruitful. And it speaks back to one of the things Irina noted about my biography, the work I had done looking at women and religion and peacebuilding. So while I was at USIP, in that program, we spent several years looking specifically and critically at forms of theory and practice, and this subfield that had emerged of religious peacebuilding. And we were looking at it through the lens of gender justice, asking how religion was being defined in the theory or engaged in the peacebuilding practice and policy in ways that unintentionally reinforced gender injustice. And what we found is that there were assumptions operating about certain authorities—often those at the top of institutions, which tended to be older, well-educated men—representing entire traditions. Assumptions made about their social and political power as well. When in reality, we knew that those of different genders, and ages, and socioeconomic locations were doing their own work of peacebuilding within these religious landscapes, and had different experiences of violence, and so different prescriptions for how to build peace. So we began to ask questions, like whose peace is being built in this field of religious peacebuilding that was emerging? And the work that USIP had been doing in this space of religious peacebuilding? Whose stories were being left out in the dominant analyses or narratives in the media about religious dimensions of certain conflicts, and what are the consequences of that? So these kinds of questions are grounded in the recognition of, again, the internal diversity, the change over time of religious traditions. And they help ensure that analysis and policy actions aren’t unintentionally reproducing forms of harm or structural violence. I’m almost done. So please do bring your questions so that we can engage in a discussion with each other. But I wanted to end by offering a couple examples of resources that I think might be helpful to both enhancing your own religious literacy but also as potential pedagogical tools in this work. So first is Religious Peacebuilding Action Guides that were produced by the U.S. Institute of Peace, in partnership with Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. There’s four guides. They’re all available for free online. Once I close down my PowerPoint, I’m going to throw the links for all of these things I’m mentioning into the chat box so you can all see it. But one of the things—I’m just going to dive in a little bit to the analysis guide, because one of the things that I think is useful in helping, again, to help us think a little bit more complexly about religion, is that it takes you through this process of thinking about the different dimensions of religion as defined here—ideas, community, institutions, symbols and practices, and spirituality. So it’s already moving beyond just an idea of religious institutions, for example. And it takes you through doing a conflict assessment, and asking the questions related to religion with respect to the drivers of the conflict and the geographic location and peacebuilding initiatives, to help you craft a peacebuilding—a religious peacebuilding initiative. I have used this framework as a means to help students think through the ambivalence of religion as it manifests in different places. So I have an example there of a question that I have sometimes used that has been fruitful in thinking about how these five different dimensions of religion have manifested in American history in ways that either have advanced forms of racialized violence and injustice or that have served as drivers of peace and justice. And there’s lots of examples across all of those dimensions of the ways in which religion has shown up in ambivalent ways in that respect. There’s also—USIP’s team has produced a lot of amazing things. So I’ll put some links to some of their other resources in there too, which includes they’re doing religious landscape mappings of conflict-affected states. They have an online course on religious engagement in peacebuilding that’s free to take. Another resource is from here, at Harvard Divinity School in the Religion in Public Life Program. And we provide a series of case studies that is for educators. It’s primarily created educators in secondary schools and in community colleges, but I think could easily be adapted and used in other kinds of four-year universities or other kinds of professional settings, where you’re doing trainings or workshops, or even just holding discussions on religious literacy. So there’s a series of kind of short, concise, but dense, case studies that are looking at different religions as they intersect with a host of issues, including peace, climate, human rights, gender issues. And it says something about that case study here—the example that I have here is the conflict in Myanmar, pre-coup, the conflicts that were occurring between religious communities, and particularly between Buddhist communities and Muslim communities. And then there’s a set of discussion questions there that really help to unearth some of those lessons about internal diversity and about the ways in which religious intersects with state policies and other kinds of power interests and agendas—political power interests and agendas. And then also, at our program, Religion and Public Life, we have a number of courses that are available online, one that’s more on the substantive religious literacy side, looking at different religious traditions through their scriptures. Another course, it’s on religion, conflict and peace, all of which are free and I’m going to throw them into the chat box in a moment. And we also have ongoing workshops for educators on religious literacy, a whole network with that. So you’re welcome to join that network if you’d like. And then finally, we have a one-year master’s of religion and public life program for people in professions—quote/unquote, “secular” professions—who want to come and think about—they’re encountering religion in various ways in their work in public health, or in their work in journalism. And so they want to come here for a year and to think deeply about that, and bring something back into their profession. And then the final thing, and then I’m going to be done, and this one is short, is the Transatlantic Policy for Religion and Diplomacy, which brings together point people from—who work on religion across different foreign ministries in North America and Europe. And their website,, has a lot of really great resources that—reports on various thematic issues, but also looking at religion in situ in a number of different geographic locations. They have these strategic notes, that’s what I have the image of here, that talk about, at a particular time, what are some of the big stories related to religion and international affairs overseas. And they list a number of other religious literacy resources on their website as well. So I commend all of that to. And with that, let me stop share, throw some links into the chat box, and hear responses and questions from folks. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you for that. That was terrific. And we are going to send out—as a follow-up, we’ll send out a link to this webinar, maybe a link to your presentation, as well as the resources that you drop into the chat. So if you don’t get it here, you will have another bite at the apple, so to speak. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to the written question from Meredith Coon, who’s an undergraduate student at Lewis University: What would be a solution for India to have many different religions live in peace with each other, especially since most religions share a lot of the same core values of how people should live? And how can society prevent the weaponization of religion, while still allowing broad religious freedom? HAYWARD: All right. Thank you for the question, Meredith. And one thing just to note, by way of housekeeping, I’m not sure I can actually share the links with all of the participants. So we’ll make sure that you get all of those links in that follow-up note, as Irina said. So, Meredith, I think a couple things. One, I just want to note that one of the assumptions within your question itself is that folks of different religious persuasions are constantly at conflict with one another. And of course, there is a reality of there is increasing religious tensions around the world, communal tensions of many different sorts, ethnic, and religious, and racial, and so on, across the world. And the threat to democracy and increasing authoritarianism has sometimes exacerbated those kinds of tensions. But there’s also a lot of examples presently and historically of religiously incredibly diverse communities living in ways that are harmonious, that are just, and so on. So I think it is important—there’s a lot of work that supports forms of interfaith dialogue and intra-faith dialogue. And I think that that work is—will always be important, to be able to recognize shared values and shared commitments, and in order to acknowledge and develop respect and appreciation for differences as well on different topics—again, both within religious traditions and across them. But I think that dialogue alone, frankly, is not enough. Because so often these tensions and these conflicts are rooted in structural violence and discrimination and concerns, economic issues, and political issues, and so on. And so I think part of that work, it’s not just about building relationships kind of on a horizontal level, but also about ensuring that state policies and practice, economic policies and practices, and so on, are not operating in ways that disadvantage some groups over others, on a religious side, on a gender side, on a racial side, and so on. So it’s about ensuring as well inclusive societies and a sense as well of inclusive political systems and inclusive economic systems. And doing that work in kind of integrated ways is going to be critical for ensuring that we’re able to address some of these rising forms of violations of religious freedom. Thanks again for the question. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question from Clemente Abrokwaa. Clemente, do you want to ask your question? Associate teaching professor of African studies at Pennsylvania State University? I’m going to give you a moment, so we can hear some voices. Q: OK. Thank you very much. Yeah, my question is I’m wondering how peacebuilding, in terms of religious literacy, how would you look at—or, how does it look at those that are termed fundamentalists? How their actions and beliefs, especially their beliefs, those of us—there are those outside who perceive them as being destructive. So then to that person, is their beliefs are good. So they fight for, just like anyone will fight for, what, a freedom fighter or something, or a religious fighter in this case. So I’m just wondering how does religious literacy perceive that in terms of peacebuilding? HAYWARD: Right. Thank you for the question, Professor Abrokwaa. I really appreciate it. So a couple things. One, first of all, with respect to—just going back, again, to the ambivalence of the sacred—recognizing that that exists. That there are particular religious ideas, commitments, groups, practices that are used in order to fuel and legitimate forms of violence. And I use violence in a capacious understanding of it, that includes both direct forms of violence but also structural and cultural forms of violence, to use the framework of Johan Galtung. And so that needs to be addressed as part of the work to build peace, is recognizing religious and nonreligious practices and ideas that are driving those forms of violence. But when it comes to religious literacy to understand that, a couple ways in which the principles apply. One is, first, not assuming that their—that that is the only or exclusive religious interpretation. And I think sometimes well-meaning folks end up reifying this idea that that is the exclusive religious interpretation or understanding when they’re—when they’re offering sometimes purely nonreligious responses to it. And what I mean by this, for example, let’s look at Iran right now. I read some analyses where it’s saying that, the Iranian authorities and the Ayatollahs who comprise the Supreme Council and so on, that they—that they define what Islamic law is. And there’s not a qualification of that. And in the meantime, the protesters are sort of defined as, like, secular, or they’re not—the idea that they could be driven by certain—their own Islamic interpretations that are just as authoritative to them, and motivating them, and shaping them is critical. So being able to recognize the internal plurality and not unintentionally reify that particular interpretation of a religious tradition as exclusive or authoritative. Rather, it’s one interpretation of a religious tradition with particular consequences that are harmful for peace. And there are multiple other interpretations of that religious tradition that are operating within that context. And then a second way that the religious literacy would apply would also look at the ways in which sometimes the diagnoses of extremist groups that are operating within a religious frame doesn’t right-size the role of religion in that. It sometimes overemphasizes the religious commitments, and drives, and so on. And so, again, we need to right-size. There are religious motivations. And we need to take those seriously. And we need to develop solutions for addressing that. And there are economic interests. And there are political interests. So there’s a whole host of factors that are motivating and inspiring and legitimating those groups. And being able to take into account that more holistic picture and ensure that your responses to it are going to be holistic. And then one final thing I want to say that’s not with respect to religious literacy as much—or, maybe it is—but it’s more just about my experience of work at USIP, is that—and it kind of goes back to the question that Meredith asked before you about religious harmony between multireligious relations and harmony, is that I sometimes finds that engaging with groups that are defining themselves and motivating themselves with a primary grounding in religion, that they’re not going to participate generally in interfaith initiatives, and so on, right? And so that’s where some of that intra-faith work can be particularly important. I saw this, for example, in Myanmar, when their—when previously the movement that was known as Ma Ba Tha, which was defined by some as a Buddhist nationalist anti-Muslim kind of Buddhist supremacist group. The folks who were most successful in being able to engage in a values-grounded conversation with members of the organization were other Buddhist monks, who were able to speak within the language of meaning and to draw attention to, like, different understandings of religious teachings or religious principles with respect to responding to minority groups, and so on. So I think that’s in particular, with addressing those groups, that’s where that intra-religious work or intra-communal work can be really critical, in addition to some of that cross-communal work. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So we’ve seen, obviously, the war in Ukraine and how Christian Orthodoxy is being—or, Greek Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and the division. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it’s playing out with Russian identity? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been some really good analysis and work out there of the religious dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. So again, the sort of dominant story that you see, which reflects a reality, is that there are ways in which political and religious actors and interests are aligning on the Russian side in order to advance particular narratives and that legitimate the invasion of Ukraine that—that are about sort of fighting back against an understanding of the West as being counter to traditional and religious values. Those are some of the religious understandings. And then that concern gets linked then to the establishment of an independent or autocephalous Orthodox Church within the Ukraine context. And you see—in particular, what’s pointed to often is the relationship between Patriarch Kirill in the Russian Orthodox Church, and Putin, and the ways in which they’ve sort of reinforced each other’s narrative and offered support to it. And there’s really great analysis out there and stories that have been done about that. And that needs to be taken into account in responding to the situation and, I would say, that some of the religious literacy principles would then ask us to think about other ways in which religion is showing up within that, that go beyond the institution too. So a lot of the news stories that I’ve seen, for example, have focused exclusively on—sometimes—exclusively on the clerics within the Orthodox Church and their positions, either in support of or in opposition to the war. But in reality, on the ground there’s a lot more complexity that’s taken place, and a lot more of the ways in which different individuals and communities on both the Russia and the Ukraine side are responding to the violence, to the displacements, and so on. It paints a more complex and, I think, fascinating story, frankly. And sort of illuminates ways forward in support of peacebuilding. For example, there’s ways in which different kinds of ritual practices within Orthodoxy have served as a source of support and constancy to folks who are living in this situation of insecurity and displacement, in ways that have been helpful. There are, of course, other religious traditions that exist within both Ukraine and Russia that are operating and responding in different ways. Like, the Jewish community in Ukraine and the Catholic—the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. So looking at those complexities both within Orthodoxy, but there’s many different ways that Orthodox Christians are responding in both countries. There’s not one story of Orthodox Christianity and the invasion of Ukraine. But also looking at some of the religious diversity within it. And that helps to ensure, like I said, one, that we’re developing solutions that are also recognizing the ways in which religion at a very ground level is serving as a source of support, humanitarian relief, social, psychological support to people on the ground, as well as the ways in which it’s sort of manifesting ambivalently and complexly in ways that are driving some of the violence as well. And it also helps to push back against any sort of a narrative that this is about a Russian religion—on the Russian side—this is about a religious war against a secular, non-religious West or Ukraine, right? That that goes back to what I was talking about with the historical sort of contingencies that are baked into this system a little bit. And in defining it in that way, Russia’s religious and its motivations are religious, Ukraine’s not religious, that’s both not true—(laughs)—because there’s many religious folks within the Ukraine and within the West generally, but also feeds—it feeds the very narrative that Putin and Kirill are giving of a secular West that is anti-religion, that is in opposition to Russian traditional values. FASKIANOS: It seems like there needs to be some training of journalists too to have religious literacy, in the same way that we’re talking about media literacy. HAYWARD: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Probably should be introduced as well. (Laughs.) HAYWARD: Yeah, Irina, it’s funny, we did—one of my students actually did a kind of mapping and analysis of stories about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the religious dimensions of it. And she noted that there was—for example, it was—almost always it was male clerics who were being quoted. So there was very little that was coming from other gendered perspectives and experiences on the ground, lay folks and so on. And again, for that—for that very reason it’s sort of—because we know so many policymakers and international analysis are depending on these kinds of media stories, I worry that it creates a blinder to potential opportunities for different kinds of ways of addressing needs and partners for addressing needs on the ground. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Liam Wall, an undergraduate student at Loyola Marymount University: With so much diversity within religions itself, how can we avoid the analysis paralysis you mentioned and take in as many unique perspectives as possible, without letting that stand in the way of progress? How does one know that they have enough religious literacy and can now become an effective practitioner? HAYWARD: Well, OK, the bad news is that you will never have enough religious literacy. (Laughs.) This is a process, not an end. There are scholars here at Harvard who have been studying one particular sect of a particular religious tradition for their entire adult lives, and they would still say that they are students of those traditions, because they’re so complex. Because so many of these traditions are composed of a billion people or just—just 500 million people. But that means that there’s going to be an incredible diversity to explore. And so that’s the bad news. But the good news is, one, like, first take the burden off of your shoulders of having to be an expert on any one particular religious tradition, in order to be able to help to develop and enhance your own religious literacy, and those of others, and to operate in ways that reflect the principles of religious literacy, is the good news. As well as there are many different kinds of resources that you can turn to in order to understand, for example if you’re going to be working in a particular geographic location, scholarship, people you can speak to in order to begin to understand at least some of the specific manifestations and practices, and some of the disputes and diversity that exists within that particular country or geographic location across religious traditions. But, secondly, I would say, it’s almost more important than—like, the substance is important. But what’s just as important, if not more important, is understanding what kinds of questions to be asking, and to be curious about these religious questions and their intersection with the political and social. So we sometimes say that religious literacy is about developing habits of mind in how we think about these religious questions, and what kinds of questions we ask about religion. So it’s about developing that kind of a reflex to be able to kind of see what’s underneath some of the analysis that you’re seeing that might be relevant to religion or that might be advancing particularly problematic understandings of religion, or reinforcing binaries like the secular and the religious and so on. And that’s just as—just as important. So the extent to which you’re continuing to, like, hone those—that way of thinking, and those habits of mind, that will set you up well for then going into this space and being able to ask those particular questions with respect to whatever issues you’re focusing on, or whatever geographic location you’re looking at. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Mohamed Bilal, a postgraduate student at the Postgraduate Institute of Management in Sri Lanka. HAYWARD: Yay! FASKIANOS: Yes. How does sectarianism influence our literacy? In turn, if we are influenced by sectarianism, then would we be illiterate of the religion but literate of the sect? Thus, wouldn’t such a religious literacy perpetuate sectarianism? HAYWARD: Thank you for the question, Mohamed. It’s—I miss Sri Lanka. I have not been there in too long, and I look forward to going back at some point. So I would say sectarianism, in the sense of—so, there’s both religious sects, right? There’s the existence of different kinds of religious traditions, interpretive bodies, jurisprudential bodies in the case of Islam. And then broader, different schools or denominations. The term that’s used depends on the different religious tradition. And that reflects internal diversity. Sectarianism, with the -ism on the end of it, gets back to the same kinds of questions that I think Professor Clemente was asking with respect to fundamentalism. That’s about being sort of entrenched in an idea that your particular religious understanding and practice is the normative, authentic, and pure practice, and that all others are false in some ways. That is a devotional claim or—what I mean by a devotional claim, is that is a knowledge claim that is rooted within a particular religious commitment and understanding. And so religious literacy in this case would—again, it’s the principles of internal diversity, recognizing that different sects and different bodies of thought and practice are going to exist within religious traditions, but then also ensuring that any claim to be normative or to be orthodox by any of these different interpretive bodies is always a claim that is rooted within that religious tradition that we sometimes say is authentic. It’s authentic to those communities and what they believe. But it’s not exclusive. It’s not the only claim that exists within that religious tradition more broadly. And the concern is about—sects are fine. Different denominations, different interpretative bodies are fine and a good and sort of natural thing, given the breadth and the depth of these religious traditions. The problem is that -ism part of it, when it becomes a source of competition or even potentially violence between groups. And so that’s what needs to be interrogated and understood. FASKIANOS: So another question from John Francis, who’s the senior associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah: If you were training new diplomats in other countries to be stationed in the United States, where a wide range of religious traditions thrive, how would you prepare them for dealing with such religious variation? HAYWARD: The same way I would—and thank you, again, for the question. The same way that I would with any other diplomats going to any other—the same way I do with foreign service officers at the Foreign Service Institute, who are going to work overseas. I would—I would invite them to think about their own assumptions and their own worldviews and their own understandings of what religion is, based on their own contexts that they grew up in. So how that shapes how they understand what religion is, in the ways I was speaking to before. So for example, in Protestant Christianity, we tend to emphasize belief as the sort of core principle of religious traditions. But other religious traditions might emphasize different forms of practice or community as sort of the central or principal factor. So recognizing your own situatedness and the ways in which you understand and respond to different religious traditions. I would invite those who are coming to work here to read up on the historical developments and reality of different religious communities and nonreligious communities in the U.S. and encourage them to look not just at some of the—what we call the world religions, or the major religions, but also at indigenous traditions and different practices within different immigrant communities. And I would have them look at the historical relationship between the state and different religious communities as well, including the Mormon tradition there in Utah, and how the experience of, for example, the Mormon community has shaped its own relationship with the state, with other religious communities on a whole host of issues as well. And then I would encourage—just as I was saying earlier—no diplomat going to the U.S. is going to become an expert on the religious context in the U.S., because it’s incredibly complex, just like anywhere else in the world. But to be able to have sort of a basic understanding to be able to then continue to ask the kinds of questions that are going to help to understand how any political action is taken or response to any policy issues kind of inevitably bumps up against particular religious or cultural commitments and values. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from Will Carpenter, director of private equity principal investments at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and also taking a course at the Harvard Extension School. HAYWARD: Hey! FASKIANOS: I’m going to ask the second part of Will’s question. How will the current polarized domestic debate regarding U.S. history, which is often colored by the extremes—as a force for good only versus tainted by a foundation of injustice—impact America’s capacity to lead internationally? HAYWARD: Hmm, a lot. (Laughter.) Thank you for the question. I mean, I think the fact of polarization in the U.S. and the increasing difficulty that we’re facing in being able to have really deep conversations and frank conversations about historical experiences and perceptions of different communities, not just religiously, not just racially even, but across different—urban-rural, across socioeconomic divides, across educational divides and, of course, across political divides, and so on. I think that—I think that absolutely hampers our ability to engage within the global stage effectively. One, just because of the image that it gives to the rest of the world. So how can we—how can we have an authentic moral voice when we ourselves are having such a hard time engaging with one other in ways that reflect those values and that are grounded within those values? But also because I think get concern—with respect to religion questions in particular—I get concern about the increasing polarization and partisanization of religion in foreign policy and issues of religious freedom, and so on. Which means that we’re going to constantly have this sort of swinging back and forth then between Republican and Democratic administrations on how we understand and engage issues related to religion and foreign policy, different religious communities in particular, like Muslim communities worldwide, or on issues of religious freedom. So I think it’s incredibly critical—always has been, but is particularly right now at this historical moment—for us to be in the U.S. doing this hard work of having these conversations, and hearing, and listening to one another, and centering and being open about our values and having these conversations on that level of values. To be able to politically here in the U.S., much less overseas, to be able to work in ways that are effective. Irina, you’re muted. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (Laughs.) With that, we are at the end of our time. Thank you so much for this. This has been a really important hour of discussion. Again, we will send out the link to the webinar, as well as all the resources that you mentioned, Susan. Sorry we didn’t have the chat open so that we could focus on what you were saying and all the questions and comments that came forward. So we appreciate it. And thank you so much, again, for your time, Susan Hayward. And I just want to remind everybody that this is the last webinar of the semester, but we will be announcing the Winter/Spring Academic Webinar lineup in our Academic bulletin. And if you’re not already subscribed to that, you can email us at [email protected] Just as a reminder, you can learn about CFR paid internships for students and fellowships for professors at Follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Good luck with your exams. (Laughs.) Grading, taking them, et cetera. Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving. And we look forward to seeing you again next semester. So, again, thank you to Susan Hayward. HAYWARD: Thank you, everybody. Take care.
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    Academic Webinar: Russia's Global Influence
    Mary Elise Sarotte, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis distinguished professor of historical studies at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, leads the conversation on Russia’s global influence. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Fall 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach 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 Mary Elise Sarotte with us to talk about Russia’s global influence. Professor Sarotte is the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis distinguished professor of historical studies in the Henry Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She is also research associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. She previously taught at the University of Southern California and the University of Cambridge and served as a White House fellow. She is the author or editor of six books. Her most recent book is entitled Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate. And it was published by Yale University Press. Thank you, Mary. She has already won the Pushkin House Prize for the best book on Russia, and she is shortlisted for CFR’s Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Cundill History Prize. So we’re very excited to have you here with us, Professor Sarotte, to talk about this and to be with us. And congratulation on your accolades for prior books as well as this one. So best of luck with those two upcoming book awards. So I thought we could perhaps start with you giving us your analysis of what exactly is happening to Russia’s global influence as we are watching the war in Ukraine and Russia, obviously, on the world stage. SAROTTE: Absolutely. First, let me just say a quick word of thanks to you, Irina, to your staff, and to all the people who have taken the time to sign on. At a time like this, which is a time of war, the Council is more essential than ever. It’s essential to have a place where we can meet, either in person or virtually, and talk about these utterly critical issues. So thank you for doing this. And thank you to all of the students and educators who have made time to Zoom in today. I was looking through the list last night and, as of last night, we have people signed up from eleven time zones—from London, to Hilo, Hawaii. So in these days where there’s a lot to be worried about, it’s a silver lining that there are smart young students and that there are smart educators taking time to inform and learn about this. Yeah. So the name of today’s session is Russia’s global influence. My feeling is that as—what’s happening is that Russia’s global influence is decreasing as the Ukraine war’s global influence is increasing. So in other words, they’re on opposite trajectories. So as the duration, significance, brutality and bloodiness of the war increases, Russia becomes more and more isolated. You can go through this in a number of factors. If you look, for example, in energy terms, this is going to be the last winter that Russia could plausibly put Europe in the cold and in the dark. Europe is making great strides towards finding alternative sources of energy—whether that’s alternative suppliers, or renewables. Dramatic changes are happening. There’s a famous saying, I think it’s attributed to Lenin, I believe, that there are some decades when nothing happens and then there are some weeks when decades happen. And there’s been many, many weeks this year where decades happen. And I think we’ve seen decades of progress in terms of energy renewables, and so forth. So, one of five. So, number one, energy terms. Russia is going to have decreasing influence over Europe. Number two, in trade and economic affairs we’ve already seen what’s being referred to as the great decoupling of Russia being cut off from what used to be formerly major trading partners. In military terms, the recent retaliation against Ukraine for the putative attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge—putative in that they’re subscribing authorship of that to Ukraine—that is, again, also self-defeating for Russia. It’s using up a supply of precision-guided munitions that, in military terms, would be better used against military targets, not against kindergarten playgrounds. And to say nothing of the incredible moral crime of doing that. Just in pure military terms it doesn’t make sense. Also, what it has done is further solidified Ukrainian opposition. As historians, we see this again and again. When you bomb a people—like, for example, the Blitz in London, the reaction tends to be a sense of solidarity and a sense of hanging together to survive and persist. And that’s happening in Ukraine as well. It's also given such credence to Ukraine’s request for air defense systems that the New York Times just now, as I was just getting ready for this session, just reported that Germany is now shipping an air defense system that is so new, it has never been used in Germany or anywhere else. It’s called the IRIS-T SLM system. It has already crossed Ukraine’s border from Poland. It apparently includes mobile launchers, a 360-degree radar, and a separate command vehicle from which you can operate the system. This was in development in Germany, and it was—it’s capable, apparently—it’s effective at distances of up to twenty-five miles. It can strike targets twelve miles up. It was basically still in development, but now they’ve let Ukraine jump the queue and shipped it right to Ukraine. The idea that that would have happened even, you know, a week ago is unthinkable. So to recap, in terms of energy, economics, military, Russian influence is actually declining because allies are banding together to fight against it. Soft power from before, that is—in the West, Russia’s soft power is basically nonexistent at this point. The fifth and final category, and that’s the real wild card, is nuclear. That’s, obviously, the big worry. There, Russia’s global influence in that category remains strong. There are only two strategic nuclear powers, and that’s the United States and Russia. More than thirty years after the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still control 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads. They are the only two states with civilization-ending capabilities, with the ability to kill most life on earth, within practically a matter of minutes, if they choose to do so. They are in a nuclear class by themselves. So that is why we are now hearing so much nuclear saber rattling from Russia. So just to sum up, because of the immense self-inflicted harm of this war to Russia—to say nothing of the terrible harm to the Ukrainians who are fighting bravely against a truly brutal aggressor—because of this war, Russia’s global influence is decreasing, which, of course, raises the risk that they’ll lean heavily on the one way in which they still have global influence, which is as a strategic nuclear power. So I think you’ve chosen exactly the right topic for us to talk about today. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you, Mary, for that. We want to get to all of you and your questions. So we’re going to turn now to you. (Gives queuing instructions.) And we already have four hands raised, so I’m going to go first to Morton Holbrook. Q: Professor Sarotte, a somewhat obscure question. Russia early on purported to recognize two new countries in eastern Ukraine, which Russia did not do with regard to Georgia or with regard to Crimea. And the question is, is it a complete charade? Or has anyone actually, besides Russia, recognized them. Someone like Belarus, maybe, or China, or any other country? Or is it just a completely charade, these two new countries? FASKIANOS: Morton, can you give us your affiliation? Q: Kentucky Wesleyan College in Kentucky. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much. SAROTTE: OK. Thank you for calling in from Kentucky. So we’ve got one time zone down, for those of you doing a time zone bingo chart. We can tick that one off. Thank you, Morton Holbrook, for your question. Yeah, things have been moving so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Initially, as you indicated, Putin indicated he was going to recognize people’s republics in eastern Ukraine. But now things have moved on, and now he’s said he’s annexed those areas. There’s a little bit of a gray zone because, of course, no one’s quite sure what the annexed borders are, what the borders of the annexed area are. Obviously, no other countries have recognized this. So this is, obviously, all very contested. I would actually, rather than trying to parse the recent terms—whether it’s a recognized republic, or a country, or an annexation—I actually would go back to a vote that took place in 1991, while the Soviet Union still existed, although it was falling apart. And in December 1991, Ukraine held what was essentially a free election to decide—to basically confirm among the population the decision of the parliament to depart from the Soviet Union and become an independent state. And that vote, that Ukrainian vote for independence, was enormously successful. It was over 90 percent in favor of independence. And the relevant fact here for your question, Morton, is that in no electoral district was support for independence below 50 percent. In other words, there was majority support for independence in every single part of Ukraine—whether that was Crimea, whether that was Donetsk, whether that was Luhansk, whether that’s the areas that Putin is now calling new countries, or new annexations. And so if we take that as an expression of popular will about whether or not Ukrainians want to be part of Russia, it was really clear that the desire was overwhelmingly to be independent. So that is, I think, an important data point. That when that question was actually put to a vote, an overwhelming number of Ukrainians voted to be independent, and a majority voted in every single district. Now, obviously, there are Ukrainian separatists who feel—sorry—there are pro-Russian people inside Ukraine who feel differently. But I think that that election is the information that we should really look to when we’re trying to figure out the sentiments of the people. FASKIANOS: Thanks. I’m going to go next to Julian Reich. And you need to unmute yourself. Q: Yeah. Hi, professor. Yeah, I’m Julian Reich from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. I’ve read some of your articles about NATO enlargement and the post-Cold War settlement. Do you think Russia’s renewed revisionism is as much a sense of their inability to achieve economic growth post-Cold War? Or do you think it largely rests on the unsatisfactory nature of the post-Cold War settlement? SAROTTE: Hmm. Yeah. Thank you, Julian, calling from Hunter College. Yeah, so as I like to say to my own students—so if any of them are on this call, they’ll groan when they hear me say this—the one phenomenon that I have never observed as a historian is mono-causality. Important events happen for multiple reasons. They’re not necessarily significant reasons. There’s a huge role for accident and chance in history. But there’s usually a mixture, often a dramatic mixture changing over time, of reasons. So I don’t think there is one simple answer for why what’s happening now—why Putin has become an aggressive invader of Ukraine. Certainly, the economic difficulties of Russia in the 1990s, the economic difficulties of other parts of the Soviet space, those are all a factor because they then gave Putin a base of support. When he came in and the economy started doing better, setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not he was responsible for that, people then associated him with moving beyond a really terrible time. The 1990s were an awful time in the post-Soviet space. Any of the indicators that you look at are just truly depressing. For example, the life expectancy for men decreased in Russia in the 1990s. The population decreased. Those are numbers that conceal a great deal of suffering. And so Putin coming in and the economy improving meant there was a certain base of support for Putin, which then meant when he started dismantling the fragile democracy in Russia, he had support for what he was doing that put him in the position that he’s in. But of course, you also have to look at his personal beliefs and fixations. It seems that he spent sadly, tragically, far too much time alone during the pandemic obsessing about the history of what he thinks belongs to Russia. I’m hearing reports from archivists out of Russia that there were all kinds of requests from the Kremlin, presumably from Putin personally through his subordinates, for evidence and documents. And he, Putin, has been publishing articles, or at least allowing articles to be published under his name, about the history of the Second World War, the history of ties with Ukraine. I’m not agreeing with any of them; I’m just noting that he is fixated on history. And so he has this fixation on the idea that he can restore the Russian greatness, he can restore land that belonged to Russia. So that’s a factor as well. Then there is, of course, the factor that the post-Cold War settlement didn’t define a place in its security structure for Ukraine. There were early discussions about that, and I talk about that in my book Not One Inch, but those did not result in a fixed secure birth for Ukraine in the European security structure. So that meant it was left outside of what was essentially the new frontline in Europe, which was the Article 5 frontline. Article 5 is, of course, the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty. It’s the article that says every member state should treat an attack on one state as an attack on all. It’s a very, very strong security guarantee. And NATO, of course, as I describe in my book Not One Inch, expanded, enlarged, in the 1990s, and expanded and enlarged its Article 5 territory, but not to Ukraine. One of the bigger surprises of my research was that President Bill Clinton in the early 1990s recognized, as he put it, that Ukraine was the, quote, “linchpin” of Europe, the key to Europe. I’m paraphrasing, but the exact quotations are in my book, Not One Inch, if you’re interested. So in early discussions of NATO enlargement, Clinton went to Central and Eastern Europeans and said: I understand. You have every right to want to join NATO. You are new, free democracies. We admire hugely how you threw off Soviet control. But you have to understand, if we give you Article 5, we’ll draw essentially a new line. We just got rid of the Cold War line. If we give you Article 5, we’ll draw a new line, and that will leave Ukraine on the wrong side. And Ukraine is a huge country in terms of geography, in terms of population. At the end of the Cold War, it had a population over fifty million, which meant it was on the size of Britain or France. It’s geographically enormous. It was becoming a new democracy as well. And Clinton said, you know, we can’t leave Ukraine in the lurch like that. It’s too big a leap to put it in NATO right away, but we can’t just leave Ukraine in the lurch like that. But then Boris Yeltsin, Putin’s predecessor, made a lot of self-harming, bad mistakes. He started using bloodshed to fight what should have been political fights. In October 1993, Boris Yeltsin decided to have tanks fire on his own parliament. I mean, we think about in the United States we had January 6. Imagine if Trump had sent tanks to fire on the Capitol, right? Then Yeltsin allowed a very brutal invasion of Chechnya. There’s some question as to whether he understood quite how extensive that invasion would be, and quite how brutal it would be. But he allowed it. He was president of the country. And so once he started shedding blood again in Russia, so soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europeans, who had been willing to listen to what Clinton said about Ukraine, who had been willing to agree, through clenched teeth, to perhaps try to find some intermediate solution for Ukraine as well, said: No. Forget it. We need Article 5. And you see this kind of parting of the ways between the post-Cold War path for the Central and Eastern Europeans and the Ukrainians. And so then Ukraine gets left out. So I could continue. There’s, like, five more reasons. But basically, when you’re looking at a history, you try to look at what the main factors are and how they interact with each other. So I think that there are a lot of factors, and the ones that you mention are part of them, that led to where we are today. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Victoria Williams, who has written her question out. But why don’t you ask it? Q: Hi, how are you? Hello. So I’m very curious to understand how we can deescalate the situation and move away from the sort of nuclear option or nuclear threat. How can we do this without basically empowering him and allowing him to just take Ukraine—take pieces of it? FASKIANOS: Victoria, you’re with Alvernia University? Q: In Reading, Pennsylvania, that’s correct. So I’m East Coast zone. (Laughs.) SAROTTE: East Coast, OK. (Laughs.) All right. Well, thank you, Victoria. And, yeah, obviously that’s the huge question. So the huge question is how do we avoid nuclear escalation. That is the essential question. The challenge is to balance that against responding to Putin, who is essentially an aggressive bully, right? And who at this point, it’s clear, only understands the language of force. What has happened in the past couple weeks has really, unfortunately, foreclosed options for de-escalation. The announcement of annexation of territory, what I was talking about in response to Morton Holbrook’s question, that removed, for example, the option that there could perhaps be a negotiated settlement. Because now Putin is saying, no, no, that’s Russian territory. It’s not even Ukraine anymore. And Ukrainians obviously don’t accept that. So the possibilities for de-escalation unfortunately became fewer in the past couple of weeks. And that is really tragic because, as I said, we’ve got the nuclear shadow hanging over all of this. So the real challenge is how to push back against a bully. And this, by the way, is not just, of course, about Ukraine and Russia. Obviously, there’s discussions about what the People’s Republic of China might do to Taiwan in the wake of its de facto takeover of Hong Kong. So there are other countries around the world that are looking at this to see what could happen. So it’s important to push back and be firm, but to do so in a way that doesn’t lead to nuclear escalation. That is a very, very difficult task. The one thing that heartens me is that we do have some experience with it. The experience was called the Cold War. So we do have a track record of dealing with this challenge. Some of the big differences that make me nervous are that the Cold War evolved over decades, and there was time to build guardrails, which were arms control agreements. We seem, by contrast, now to have spun back up to Cold War-like conditions in a matter of months, but we’re missing guardrails. We’re missing—and we’re missing popular understanding of what that means. Let me talk a little about both of those. So during the Cold War, there were a whole host of arms control agreements that limited the kinds of weapons that Washington or Moscow could build, and where they could be deployed, and a whole host of things. At present, there’s only one nuclear treaty that constrains Washington and Moscow in any way. It’s going to expire soon. And my guess is it’s probably not going to be renewed. And then Moscow and Washington will be in, in nuclear terms, completely unconstrained. That is jaw dropping and immensely frightening. So during the Cold War, of course, you had the ABM Treaty—the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty—Intermediate Nuclear Range Forces Treaty, and a whole bunch of alphabet-soup treaties that at least put some guardrails on. We don’t have those. What we also had during the Cold War was a greater cultural understanding of what nuclear war would mean, the sheer devastation that would be involved. I remember as a kid seeing a film called The Day After, about the nuclear devastation that would ensue if Soviet missiles hit the United States. I was actually just listening to Ian Bremmer the other day. And Ian Bremmer said he woke up and started thinking about that film, The Day After, for the first time in decades. We, as kids, those of us who are old enough, at least have memory of the potential horror of nuclear war. My students now do not have that at all. There’s really no understanding of that. And that’s not their fault, but it means there’s just not a cultural awareness of just how risky this is. As a matter of fact, I heard a report—it must have been on the BBC, just some stray report. But someone—it was a couple months ago—something about Russia tested some nuclear systems, but they didn’t—and the journalist added: But they didn’t actually have nuclear weapons on them. They were just testing the systems. And I was thinking, of course they didn’t have nuclear weapons on them. (Laughs.) I mean, you know, of course they didn’t blow up large segments of Europe in a test. But just the fact that the person kind of didn’t know what she was saying I though, wow, we really just lost, like, the cultural understanding of what it means. So we have these risks and we don’t have the guardrails, and we don’t have the cultural understanding. So we need to move forward carefully. I think the Biden administration has been doing a good job with this immense challenge. I think the answer has been to move incrementally, which is what has been happening. So there has been a gradual escalation of the amount and sophistication of weaponry provided. As I said, literally just in the past couple of hours there was a big step forward with Germany now delivering air defense systems. There has been, obviously, meetings of the G-7 and NATO. I think the incremental approach has been a strong one in a very, very dark situation. The Finnish and Swedish memberships in NATO are advancing incrementally. And it seems that this incremental approach so far has, at least for the prospects of the wider world, kept the conflict constrained. Now, obviously, it has not kept it constrained in any way for Ukraine. And I really have to express my admiration for the Ukrainians for how bravely they are fighting, for what they are suffering. It really is remarkable. And these recent strikes, with precision-guided munitions hitting kindergartens, just, unspeakable. So obviously the war is not constrained for Ukraine, but it has not become a global thermonuclear war. It has not become a bigger war. I am worried about this pipeline destruction that has been going on. I heard reports this morning about some kind—I don’t even know if this is accurate, so don’t quote me on this. I haven’t even had time to look at this. But I heard reports this morning that there was pipeline damage in Poland. If that’s true, that’s Article 5 territory. That would be—things that start to happen in Article 5 territory increase the risk of escalation. So the best way to keep it from escalating is to keep it away from Article 5 territory, to give Ukrainians the means to defend themselves, to keep ratcheting up the pressure incrementally. I don’t really know that there are many offramps more for Putin. I think at this point we’re probably looking at some kind of a grinding to a stalemate process. I think that’s probably the best-case scenario. It’s not a good one, but it’s probably the best of bad options. Obviously, the worst option would be escalation in some way to nuclear use. So thank you, Victoria, for the question. Long-winded answer, but it’s an important and complicated question. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Manuel Montoya at the University of New Mexico. Q: Hello, Dr. Sarotte. I’m Manuel Montoya. I’m a professor here at the University of New Mexico, here in Albuquerque. So Rocky Mountains, Mountain time zone. SAROTTE: All right, thank you. (Laughter.) Q: Yeah, thank you very much for your presentation. And thanks, everybody, for all of your questions. I’ve been thinking recently about the health of international institutions in the next chapter of whatever follows what is happening now. And my question is about Russia’s global influence, not in terms of its military power or even its social power, but also the influence it will have on the stability of international institutions, like the International Criminal Court. If there is a political will to try Russia in the International Criminal Court system or to hold them accountable through any other political devices that the international global governance community has, what do you perceive being the vulnerabilities or the risks associated with that? And how is that going to influence the stability or legitimacy of those institutions moving forward? SAROTTE: All right, Mountain time in the house. Excellent. Thank you so much. Q: Thank you. SAROTTE: Yeah. Thank you, Manuel, for your question. Yeah, it’s a good question. I guess I would answer your question two different ways, short term and long term. And, preview, I’m actually going to duck answering the long-term part. So short term, I think one of the silver linings is—of these terrible events that are happening—one of the silver linings is that Putin’s actions have created a new sense of solidarity, purpose, mission, and togetherness in international organizations. And this is not uncommon. Theorists know that having a clear enemy concentrates minds. Having an enemy the size of Russia really concentrates minds. So this is not surprising, but it is heartening. NATO, in particular, has a new sense of purpose and mission. There’s some speculation on this—back in February—oh, there’s a sense of unity now but it will fall apart as soon as leaves start turning in the fall. Well, the leaves are turning, at least here in Washington, D.C., and that sense of unity has not fallen apart. And I think other international institutions are feeling new life in their limbs, feeling new power in their veins, feeling a new sense of purpose. So in the short run, I think what is happening—although, it is again, I can’t say this enough, it’s deeply tragic for the world, incredibly dangerous, awful for Ukrainians—there are some silver linings, such as this new sense of solidarity. Now, your question about holding Russia accountable, I would put that in the category of longer-term questions. Because right now what’s essential is to prevent loss of life in Ukraine, to somehow find a way to end the violence and the bloodshed. That’s the most pressing path. But obviously holding Russia accountable and pursing what has happened here, the war crimes that are happening, is obviously hugely important. It’s a little hard right now to predict exactly how, when, and where that will happen while the conflict is still ongoing. Because obviously the continuation of the conflict itself makes it difficult to gather evidence and so forth. So your question is an insightful one. It’s an important one. But it’s just really hard to answer right now. As a historian, I am interested in the interplay between contingency, so individual decisions, individual actors making decisions, and structures. And right now, we’re in a war. And a war is a time when contingency dominates. Many unpredictable factors come into play. So it’s just a little bit—a little bit—it’s a lot hard to say what the conditions, what the parameters will be for the kind of accountability initiative that you’re talking about. So I think it’s the right question, but I just think I’d be lying if I said I had a good answer for you. The only thing I can say with certainly is it’s not a question that can be answered right now. It’s an important question, but it’s something that has to be on hold for a little while. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to the University College London. I don’t know who is asking the question, but please say who you are and unmute yourself. Q: Yes. Hello. We are from UCL, from the IPP master’s program. My name is Dr. Aboudounya and I have a number of students who have really interesting questions. They are just on their way, just one second. (Laughs.) SAROTTE: All right. So we’ve got British summertime in the house, excellent. Very good. How many people have you got there in your classroom? Q: So at the moment we have around eight people attending. SAROTTE: Excellent. Q: And we have a number of questions. So the first one will— Q: Hello. I have two questions. The first question is, is our world still in the process of globalization, especially with the United States’ economic pressures to the Russia and as Russia set war to Ukraine and they cut off the energy to Europe, and also add in the situation of the spread of COVID-19? This is my first question. And then my second question is, without Russia, how can Europe solve its energy problem? Q: Thank you very much. We just have another question, sorry. FASKIANOS: One more and then we will go answers, and then we have so many other questions we’ll have to keep it at that. Q: Hi. I also have a question. That is, if the war continues, will Russia change its public policy with other developing countries, like Malaysia or India? Will they cooperate together to solve their current issues, or they will take other actions? Thanks. SAROTTE: All right. Well, thank you, UCL, for making a good showing there. You can check off British summertime. Let me—first, let me say—so, the second question first was Russia and its attitude towards developing countries. Obviously, because Russia is now decoupling itself, and also being decoupled from, the Western economy, that increases the importance to Russia of countries that are not in Europe, countries that are not in the United States, and so forth. So there is new leverage now for basically other countries. Obviously, , I wouldn’t call China a developing country, but obviously China and India have enormous leverage right now with Russia. So in a sense, there’s a kind of recalibration happening in the international system as the energy and economic ties between Europe are being cut, it’s then going to be creating newer ties or stronger ties to developing countries. So there’s a large realignment going on. Again, as with the previous question from Manuel, it’s a little early to foresee the outcome, but it’s clear that process is underway. And then the previous question about without Russia, how can Europe solve its energy problem, that’s obviously the right question. The Europeans have had now a lot of this calendar year to think about that. So one of the self-harming choices that Putin made was to play his energy card too early. In other words, he started threatening and actually cutting off supplies—energy supplies—to Europe in the early spring, when the invasion didn’t end in three days, as he hoped. And that actually gave Europeans the whole summer to start to make plans, to try to find alternatives, to do things like build floating harbors to get liquefied natural gas to their customers, to find alternative sources. The sense, for example, from Germany, which is a country where I was recently, is that while it might be a difficult winter, no one is going to freeze. The supplies will be enough. There might—they’re not going to be able to keep lights on, perhaps, in stores in the evening, and maybe the Christmas markets won’t be as bright, but no one is going to freeze. And they’re ready for it. And that feeling seems to cover other European countries as well. And if there are some difficulties, people are ready for that. And, as I said before, this will be the last winter where Russia will able to threaten to put Europe in the dark and in the cold. And renewables are going to come online in a major way. Germany had to reverse course on some of its use of coal. It’s also has to reverse course on cutting down some nuclear plants. There is going to be a shifting, but it will—Europe will be able to provide for its essential energy needs. There may be some non-essential things that go away, but Europe will make sure that nobody freezes. And I couldn’t quite hear the first question, but I understand there are other questioners, so you’ll forgive me if I pass on the first question and move onto the next questioner. But thank you for ticking off the British summertime box. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Zachary Hammerschmidt. Q: Hi. I’m Zach Hammerschmidt from Mankato State—Minnesota State University in Mankato. So my question to you is: Should we be viewing this more of a continuation of the Cold War? Proxy wars have been more noticeable of late—as in Syria and the Ukraine, with NATO’s influence. And if so, wouldn’t the expansion of NATO into Scandinavia and our support of Ukraine as a pro-Western democracy further exacerbate the problem with Russian aggression? Because that definitely does mimic Putin’s rhetoric, of late. SAROTTE: OK. OK. Are you Central time? Q: Yes. SAROTTE: All right. We can tick off Central time. Excellent. Very good. All right, so, all right, Zachary, thank you for your question. Historical question. I love it. I’m a historian, so history, the one true discipline. All your political science students out there, nobody’s perfect. All right. So, yeah, Cold War. That whole thing has really come up again. My colleague, Stephen Kotkin, the author of the biography of Stalin, has recently said—I think actually in Foreign Affairs, Irina, I think, or at a Foreign (Affairs) event—that the Cold War never ended. That it’s been continuing. That we are kidding ourselves that we had a break in it. I’m not entirely sure I agree with that. I believe that we are once again now in cold war-like conditions. But in contrast to my colleague, Stephen Kotkin—I disagree with him with great hesitation—but I believe that the thaw between the last Cold War and this new cold war was real. The problem is that cold wars are not short-lived affairs. So thaws are precious. And neither Russia nor the West made the best use of the thaw that we had, that is now over. For example, it would have been wonderful if there had been more progress on disarmament than there was. That didn’t happen. It would have been wonderful if it had lasted longer. That didn’t happen. This indeed is what I investigate in my book, Not One Inch. So since I know this is not meant to be a seven hour, or an eleven hour event, I’m not meant to cover all the time zones, I won’t describe all the arguments in my book right here. But if you are interested, you can definitely look at it more. I think what has happened is we—the Cold War ended. We had a genuine moment where it would have been possible to establish lasting cooperation. I know there are other people who think differently, but I believe that there was a real moment of optimism. Perhaps that’s because I experienced some of it personally. I was studying abroad in West Berlin in 1989. That is ultimately the reason I do what I do. That is the reason why I became a historian, why I am interested in Cold War history, the history of the end of the Cold War, the history of what is happening now, because of the experiences that I had living in West Berlin and traveling behind the Iron Curtain and then, obviously, the experience of seeing that Iron Curtain open, unexpectedly. So I think that there was a genuine thaw. I do not agree with Stephen Kotkin. I do think, as I was saying before, that we are spinning back up to cold war-like conditions, but with some important differences. There are important differences both in the surrounding structure and context, and there are important individual differences. And the surrounding structure and context, obviously the previous Cold War was a lot more bipolar, Moscow-Washington. Now China’s a much—a major player, certainly in economic terms, also in military terms. So that is different. There are just—India, Brazil—it’s not as bipolar as it was. It's also not an ideological conflict. Putin is not a communist. He’s far too rich for that. (Laughs.) He’s not trying to restore communism. So I grant that there are many, many differences to the previous Cold War. And yet, the key factor of the previous Cold War was the rise of this thermonuclear conflict—a potential thermonuclear conflict between Washington and Moscow which, to repeat, would be a civilization-ending conflict. It would kill most life on Earth. That, for me, is a significant threshold in history. We crossed that with the development of thermonuclear weapons. And so that nuclear conflict between Washington and Moscow is, to me, what defines the Cold War, what made it unique and different from previous eras. The fact that we are now once again talking about a nuclear conflict at that level—again, I hope very much this does not happen, but the rhetoric is bad—means that we are once again having a cold war. And then, as you mentioned, Zachary, there’s also this idea of proxy wars. That there is a stalemate between Washington and Moscow directly, or Moscow and NATO countries, but then there are other countries where there is hot war, not cold war. The Cold War is a bit of a misnomer. There’s an excellent book by Paul Chamberlin called The Cold War Killing Fields. Talks about all of the people who died in hot wars during the Cold War. And so, yes, you’re right to say we’re seeing this phenomenon again of a stalemate between Moscow and Washington, for now, but with a lot of bloodshed and fighting in a proxy war situation. And then, to get to the last part of your question about NATO enlargement, I think that you have to differentiate sharply between peacetime and wartime. So as you’ll see, if you have a look at my book, I am not an opponent of NATO enlargement, right? If you’re looking for the person who says everything that’s happened is NATO’s fault, that’s John Mearsheimer. That’s not me. So you can ask Irina to organize an educator’s event with John Mearsheimer and have at him. I am not opposed to NATO enlargement. I think the problem with NATO enlargement was how it happened. There were ways not to leave Ukraine in the lurch, for example. There were alternatives known at the time, that I describe in my book. And I wish that those alternatives had dominated, those alternative methods of enlarging NATO. NATO enlargement was not one thing. There were multiple possibly ways to expand it known at the time, including ways that would have involved Ukraine. And I wish that those had happened. So I think how it happened was problematic. But—and this is a big but—my criticism referred to this peaceful thaw that I genuinely believe was a real thaw, a real opportunity for cooperation between the last Cold War and the one we’ve got coming up. That time has changed. We are now in a time of war. War changes everything. So now that we’ve seen that Putin will know no limits, that Putin will respond only to force, now that we’ve seen the brutality of what happened in Bucha, now that we’re uncovering the atrocities every time Ukraine liberates another city, now we need wartime actions. It’s clear that what we need to do now is to defend Ukraine, to make it clear either to Putin or people around Putin that there is no point in continuing this conflict, and to try to somehow move beyond this bloodshed. And in the first instance, that requires showing as much military resolve as possible. And, as I said, also, in response to an earlier question, that also shows playing up alliance unity, creating new opportunities for people to join, like Sweden and Finland. So in the context of the war, now that we are in war, I think that it is the right and appropriate thing for NATO to keep enlarging and for it to push back forcefully against Putin to hopefully get back to a place where we’re not in wartime, we’re in peacetime, and then diplomacy can take over again. FASKIANOS: Great. So we did have a written question from Gail Evans, who’s at Georgia Tech, who referenced—and I don’t know if you saw it—the event that CFR hosted with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Mary, in which he suggested that we needed to be aware of how the Ukraine war ended would determine whether Russia was the far end of the West or the beginning of the East. And she wondered what your reaction is to that. SAROTTE: Hmm, interesting. So, no, I did not see that event. I mean, obviously Henry Kissinger is very—is a smart man. I think whether Russia is the far end of the West or the near end of the East is up to the Russians. So I don’t know that it is in our hands to decide that. I’m also not sure that’s a meaningful distinction. Obviously, there’s a lot of countries between Europe and China. So what about them? I would—but I do agree with him, absolutely, that the way this war ends is of monumental significance. The problem is, it’s hard to say how it will end. We can talk about how it won’t end, right? So, for example, it’s not going to end with Putin saying, oh, I don’t know what got into me, sorry. And everyone saying, OK, no problem, let’s go back to where we were before February, 24, 2022. That is not going to happen. I mean, even if—I said this in a television interview recently—even if—and this is not going to happen. But even if we get off this Zoom and we find that somehow, miraculously, while we’ve been on the Zoom, Putin said: You know, what? Forget it. Let’s stop this sill invasion. Call it off. That’s not happening. And even if it did, no one is going back, right? No one is going to say, oh, OK, all right. Let’s, you know, start the oil flowing again. I mean, even though despite there’s holes in the pipelines now. This is a real breaking point in history. So the question is, how is the war going to end? And it will be something new. I don’t know what it will be. It could be worse. But it will be something new. Russia, as I said, has been largely decoupled from the Western economy. That’s not going to change immediately. There will be questions, obviously, huge questions, about the internal domestic politics in Russia. It seems that Putin has decided to really attach his fate to the fate of this war, which is yet another tragic decision. He seems to have foreclosed other options for himself. So it’s not clear—it is not clear to me how this war ends. But it is clear to me that it will be hugely significant. And so I would agree with Dr. Kissinger that how this war ends is hugely significant. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Konstantin Tkachuk. Please excuse my pronunciation. Q: Yeah. Thank you a lot also from myself. My name is Konstantin. I’m coming from—I’m half Russian, half Ukrainian. And that’s a very insightful talk for me. I’m dialing from Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. SAROTTE: All right, Chinese time zones. Excellent. All right. All right. Very good. (Laughs.) Q: And my question is, we provide well—or somehow covered already the topic of the war and what is happening in the short term. I’m more curious that, given the situation will resolve in some time which we obviously cannot predict right now, and the war was definitely a political suicide for the current government in Russia, what do you think would be the settlement process worldwide for Russia, given the size of Russian resource markets, given the need in those resource markets still in many other countries, and the remaining impact on the various other industries? So how would you, from a historical perspective, see that? SAROTTE: Hmm, OK. Well, first of all, so thank you for adding the Chinese time zone. Secondly, thank you for sharing your personal background. I hope that your family members are safe. And I’m so sorry about the experiences that the Ukrainian side of your family is obviously going through. On your third point, your statement that this war was political suicide for the current Russia regime, I wish that were obviously true. I hope that will be true. I hope that we are approaching the post-Putin moment. It is not yet clear to me, however, that Putin has committed political suicide. When you’ve had a country in personal rule for decades, as he has—or, let me put it this way—when you’ve been at the top of a country for decades and you have created a situation of personal rule, you’ve established deep roots through the institutions of loyalties and supporters. Obviously, there’s no longer freedom of the press, there’s no longer freedom of association. And among the tragic effects of the war for Russia is that it has caused mass flight of people who might have led opposition. So certainly the outbreak of the war caused journalists and other writers to flee because the use of the word “war” was criminalized, and so their writing could have landed them in jail. More recently, the botched efforts at mobilization have caused some enormous number of young Russian men to leave Russia, as I’m sure you know. I haven’t—it seems like there are estimates that are bouncing around, but it looks like the number is clearly in the hundreds of thousands. So I’ve seen estimates that as many as half a million Russian men have fled the country because of the mobilization. So in a system that already has a dearth of venues to express opposition, to call for change, the war has depleted the supply of people who might be brave enough or inclined enough to make those calls. So it’s not clear to me that in domestic Russian terms Putin has committed political suicide. I think what has happened is grim for Russia as a country, as I said at the outset. I think as the global impact and influence of this war grows, the global impact and influence of Russia declines. I think many of the people around Putin are starting to realize they may be living in a very large version of North Korea. But again, the leader of North Korea has held on for a long time. So it’s not clear to me that this is political suicide for Putin. That then relates to the second part of your question, which is, you know, what kind of settlement comes out of this. And this goes back to the earlier question we had about, you know, the ICC and holding Russia accountable. You wisely mentioned, Konstantin, Russia’s resources. Obviously, Russia’s resources—its oil, its gas, and so forth—along with its strategic nuclear power, give it a certain weight in the international system. Russia is just simply too big to ignore, right? Before the war broke out I would often go to give talks and I would say: You know, there’s growing tensions with Russia, and they really worry me. And I would often face audiences who would say, well, why does Russia matter? It has the economy—it only has the economy the size of a small Chinese province or Spain. And I would respond, well, number one, Spain’s economy is not that small. And, number two, Russia’s a strategic nuclear power, right? That doesn’t change whether its economy is the size of Spain or not. So, you know, can’t just ignore Russia. It’s just too big and too nuclear to ignore. So it’s not as if the world is just going to be able to ignore Russia. There will, as you rightly said, have to be some kind of settlement. But as I’ve said with some of the other previous questions, I think we’re in a moment of contingency right now. And I think it would be—I’d be lying if I said, oh, I know absolutely what’s going to happen. It’s clear there is going to have to be a settlement. It’s clear Russia is just too big a factor, a player in the international system to simply write off. But what kind of settlement is going to come is going to depend on whether this really does turn out to be political suicide for Putin or not. And I don’t think that that is clear yet. But thank you for the insightful question. And thank you for adding in some Chinese time zones to this call. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Zinadid Simpson Crasiyah (ph). Q: Hi. Good afternoon and thank you for this talk, Professor. I am a law student at the University of Oklahoma. I had a question regarding one of the articles you attached in your invitation to this, The World Putin Wants. And I was particularly interested in the talk about Putin’s influence on the global south and, as the article described it, the rest of the developing world, and how he has been winning the information war with them. So my question is, how does the West, the global west and I guess the United States, fight the information war if they’ve already started doing that? And how that could, in a sense, resolve at least some issues? SAROTTE: Hmm, yeah, all right. So, excellent. University of Oklahoma. I’m guessing Central time, yes? Q: Yes. Yes. SAROTTE: All right. Central time. All right. We’ve got another good—(inaudible)—from Central time. All right. Yeah, so the—I’m trying to remember how old that article is, I can’t remember exactly. I don’t think right now people would say Putin is winning the global information war. I think that headline has to go to the Ukrainians, right? Pro tip, don’t go to war against a very online comedian who knows how to communicate effectively. The Ukrainians have used information warfare very, very skillfully. As they should. They are at war. Again, wartime is different than peacetime. And so the terms of the information war have shifted greatly since that article was written. Obviously, another big factor, which is a little bit outside the topic here for us today but is worth mentioning, is the impact of, of course, the Chinese in the global south, the Belt and Road Initiative, their actions there. That, I think, has had much—had had more traction than the Russian approaches, and especially now because of the war Russia, as I—sort of just come back to my theme—Russia’s global influence is, I would submit, declining. So I think if that article were written today, it would have a little bit of a different focus. But that is a little bit outside of the area that we’re focusing on today. But thank you for the question. FASKIANOS: Mary, there are a lot of questions about China. So I guess maybe just to talk a little bit. You know, Russia’s relations with China, with a view to its global influence, and given its growing—China’s growing bargaining power. What opportunities does this create for China to reshape the power dynamic? And do you see this as a factor pressuring Russia to find an offramp? SAROTTE: Yeah. All right. We’re just going to assume that was, you know, questions from eleven time zones here and tick them all off here, as we wrap up. Yeah. So I actually—on the subject of Moscow’s relationship with Beijing, I co-authored an article with Sergey Radchenko for Foreign Affairs. So for those of you who are interested, please search—I don’t know, maybe one of the staff here could put it in the chat or, you know, the link to it. Sergey Radchenko and I, a colleague of mine at SAIS who is actually himself, Konstantin, he’s actually Russian-Ukrainian as well. We looked at historical parallels to the current relationship between Moscow and Beijing. And Sergey and I, we saw a cautionary tale. It’s a tale of a country that supported its crumbling neighbor in an effort to menace a smaller power. And in historical terms, that was rising Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, supported the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire, attacking Serbia. That did not end well for imperial Germany. That ended in World War I, which dragged down Germany as well. Germany, at the end—at the beginning of the 20th century was on course to be the dominant industrial military technological power of the century. If you at the beginning of the 20th century had tried to guess which country will dominate this century, the answer would have been Germany. And as a result of its foolish decision to support a crumbling neighbor in its effort to restore a lost empire, imperial Germany itself was dragged under. That’s not a good precedent for a current rising power, namely China, supporting a former imperial neighbor, namely Russia, trying to restore—trying to launch war and restore imperial glory in a small country, namely Ukraine. So we think that it is not wise for Beijing to be supporting Russia to the degree that it has been so far. There seem to be a lot of signs that Beijing is starting to have second thoughts itself. There seem to be a lot of signs that Beijing is trying to communicate to Putin that this war did not go well, is not going well, wrapping it up would be a good idea. I suspect that Xi Jinping regrets the statement that his partnership with Russia had no limits, made before the Olympics last fall—sorry—earlier this year. So I think the relationship between Moscow and Beijing is hugely important. As Russia gets more and more cut off from European countries, its economic relationship with China becomes more and more important. Beijing has leverage over Russia right now. Beijing is also enjoying getting, you know, gas and oil at a discount. Beijing is able to exploit Russia right now. That’s not really in Russia’s interest. So the relationship is hugely important. I hope that Beijing will continue on the trend line it is on, which is—which appears to be behind the scenes pressure on Moscow to start wrapping this up. I don’t think China, let me put it this way, would, you know, try to engage in some kind of muscular coercion of Putin. I think there are limits. But I think it’s at least—heartening is the wrong word—but less terrible if Beijing is saying to Moscow—if Xi is saying to Putin: This is really not a good idea. That’s better than what was being said earlier this year, which is, our friendship has no limits. Do whatever you want, right? So it’s an important relationship. Beijing has leverage. I hope Beijing will see that it is ultimately not in Beijing’s interest to be on the wrong side of this war. That is—I hope that very much. Again, like with so many other things, because we’re in a moment with such contingency, it’s a little bit hard to predict. But it’s definitely essential to keep an eye on Beijing and on China. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We just dropped the link to that Foreign Affairs article in the chat. So I commend it to all of you. We have so many questions, raised hands and written questions. I’m sorry we couldn’t get them all. But I’m going to reserve the right of the moderator to ask the last one. So, Mary, you did mention a little bit earlier about why you became a historian. So could you say a few words about, even if you don’t aspire to become a historian, why history is so important for all of us to have in our lives? SAROTTE: Yeah, absolutely. I believe that history is the—understanding history is the best way to prepare for the future. I don’t believe that it, or any other discipline, lets you accurately, to the last detail, predict the future. I think anyone who tells you students out there, I can predict the future, don’t believe them. But I think you can prepare for the future, right? If you think, for example, about, I don’t know what a soccer team, a football team, an American—you know, the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions, and in, you know, England it might be Manchester United. The fact that they hold a practice on—you know, in advance of the big game does not guarantee that they will win the game, but it greatly increases the chances, right? The fact, to use another example, that a pilot might spend many hours in a flight simulator before actually getting into a cockpit does not mean that the pilot will do everything personally—that he or she will do everything personally—but it does greatly increase the chances, right? And so, similarly, I would like to leave students with this thought. History doesn’t provide us with clear and obvious lessons, a clear, you know, checklist of what to do. But it does greatly increase the chances that we can meet the challenges that are coming. And, sadly, we are, once again, in an era of some very, very dangerous challenges—indeed, potentially existential challenges—for our planet. So I’ve been making a joke of it, but it actually really does mean a lot to me that the students have called in from around the globe to talk about these issues, because our globe needs you and needs your efforts to keep us away from disaster. So thank you for calling in to think about this, and helping create a global community to talk about these issues. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, thank you, Mary, for this terrific hour, and to all the students and professors who are trying to get everybody interested in history on the call. We appreciate your participation and I’m sorry, again, that we couldn’t get to all your questions. Again, I commend Mary’s book to you, Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate. And we will keep an eye on those book prizes. Hope you are the winner. So the next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, October 26, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Zongyuan Zoe Liu, fellow for international political economy here at CFR, will talk about global economics. And in the meantime, please do check out our CFR fellowships for educators at The deadline for that is October 31. It IS a unique opportunity to come to the Council for nine months, or to go work in the government. Follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So again, thank you all for being with us. Thank you, Professor Mary Elise Sarotte. And we look forward to having your join us again in a couple of weeks. SAROTTE: Sounds great. Bye-bye. FASKIANOS: Bye. (END)
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    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)
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  • China
    Academic Webinar: Why Nations Rise: China, India, and the Narratives of Great Powers
    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)