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    Academic Webinar: Energy Policy and Efforts to Combat Climate Change
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    Jason Bordoff, cofounding dean, Columbia Climate School, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, and professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University, leads a conversation on energy policy and efforts to combat climate change.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record. And the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have with us today Jason Bordoff to talk about energy policy and efforts to combat climate change. Jason Bordoff is cofounding dean of the Columbia Climate School, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, and professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University. He previously served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change on the National Security Council, and he has held senior policy positions on the White House’s National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and is often on TV and radio. So, we’re really happy to have him with us today. So, Jason, thank you very much. We are just coming off the COP26 conference that took place in Glasgow that started on October 31, I believe, and concluded last Friday, November 12. Could you talk about what came out of the conference at a high level, if you think that the agreements that were reached went far enough or didn’t go far enough, and what your policy recommendations are to really advance and fight the countdown that we have to the Earth warming? BORDOFF: Yeah. Thanks. Well, first, thanks to you, Irina, and thanks to CFR for the invitation to be with you all today. Really delighted to have the chance to talk about these important issues. I was there for much of the two-week period in Glasgow representing the Energy Center and the Climate School here at Columbia. I think it’s kind of a glass half-full/glass half-empty outlook coming out of Glasgow. So I think the Glasgow conference was notable in several respects. We’ll look back on it, I think, and some of the things we will remember are—some of the things we’ll remember—(dog barking)—sorry—are the role of the private sector and private finance, I think, was much more prominent in Glasgow this year. I think there were commitments around some important things like methane, a very potent greenhouse gas, was much higher on the priority list in this U.N. climate meeting than in prior ones. You had pledges on deforestation and other things that are important. And then the final agreement did have some important elements to it, particularly around Article 6, how you design carbon markets around the world. But the glass half-empty outlook is still we are nowhere close to being on track for the kind of targets that countries and companies are committing to: net zero by 2050 or 1.5 degrees of warming. I think there were—there should be hope and optimism coming out of COP. The role of the youth—at Columbia, we were honored to organize a private roundtable for President Obama with youth climate activists. It’s hard to spend time with young people in COP or on campus here at Columbia or anywhere else and not be inspired by how passionately they take these issues. So the activism you saw in the streets, the sense of urgency among everyone—activists, civil society, governments, the private sector—felt different, I think, at this COP than other COPs that I have attended or probably the ones I haven’t attended. But there was also for some I saw kind of we’re coming out of this and we’re on track for below two degrees. Or, you know, Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, tweeted that when you add up all the pledges we’re on track for 1.8 degrees Celsius warming. He’s talking about all of the pledges meaning every country who’s promised to be net zero by 2050, 2060, 2070, and at least from my standpoint there’s a good reason to take those with a grain of salt. They’re not often backed up by concrete plans or ideas about how you would get anywhere close to achieving those goals. So it’s good that we have elevated ambition, which is kind of one of the core outcomes of the COP in Glasgow. But it is also the case that when you elevate ambition and the reality doesn’t change as fast or maybe faster than the ambition is changing, what you have is a growing gap between ambition and reality. And I think that’s where we are today. Oil use is rising each and every year. Gas use is rising. Coal use is going up this year. I don’t know if it’s going to keep going up, but at a minimum it’s going to plateau. It’s not falling off a cliff. So the reality of the energy world today—which is 75 percent of emissions are energy—is not anything close to net zero by 2050. It is the case that progress is possible. So if you go back to before the Paris agreement, we were on track for something like maybe 3.7 degrees Celsius of warming. If you look at a current outlook, it’s maybe 2.7, 2.8 (degrees), so just below three degrees. So progress is possible. That’s good. If you look at the nationally determined contribution pledges—so the commitments countries made that are more near term, more accountability for them; the commitments they made to reduce emissions by 2030, their NDCs—we would be on track for about 2.4 degrees Celsius warming, assuming all those pledges are fulfilled. But history would suggest a reason to be a little skeptical about that. The U.S. has a pledge to get to a 50 to 52 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and look at how things are working or not working in Washington and make your own judgment about how likely it is that we’ll put in place the set of policies that would be required to get to that ambitious level of decarbonization by 2030. And I think the same healthy dose of skepticism is warranted when you look elsewhere in the world. But even if we achieve all of those, we’re still falling short of below two degrees, nevertheless 1.5 (degrees). And so, again, I think the outcome from COP for me was optimism that progress is possible—we have made a lot of progress in the last ten years—but acute concern that we’re nowhere close to being on track to take targets like 1.5 degrees Celsius or net zero by 2050 seriously. And we just need to be honest as a climate and energy community—and I live in both of those worlds; there’s a lot of overlap between them, obviously—about how hard it is to achieve the goals we are talking about. Renewables have grown incredibly quickly. Optimistic headlines every day about what is happening in solar and wind. Costs have come down more than 90 percent. Battery costs have come down more than 90 percent in the last decade. But solar and wind create electricity, and electricity is 20 percent of global final energy consumption. The outlook for electric vehicles is much more promising today. Lots of companies like Ford and others are committing to be all-electric by a certain date ten or twenty years from now. Cars are 20 percent of global oil demand. About half of the emission reductions—cumulative emission reductions between now and 2050 will need to come from technologies that are not yet available at commercial scale and sectors of the economy that are really hard to decarbonize like steel and cement and ships and airplanes. We’re not—we don’t have all the tools we need to do those yet. And then, in Glasgow, the focus of a lot of what we did at Columbia was on—we did a lot of different things, but one of the key areas of focus was the challenge of thinking about decarbonization in emerging and developing economies. I don’t think we talk about that enough. The issue of historical responsibility of loss and damage was more on the agenda this year, and I think you’ll hear even more about it in the year ahead. The next COP is in Africa. There was growing tension between rich and poor countries at this COP. I think a starting point was what we see in the pandemic alone and how inequitable around the world the impacts of the pandemic are. Many people couldn’t even travel to Glasgow from the Global South because they couldn’t get vaccinated. We need, between now and 2050, estimates are—a ballpark—$100 trillion of additional investment in clean energy if we’re going to get on track for 1.5 (degrees)/net zero by 2050. So the question that should obsess all of us who work in this space: Where will that money come from? Most of it’s going to be private sector, not public. Most of it is going to be in developing and emerging economies. That is where the growth in energy is going to come from. Eight hundred million people have no access to energy at all. Nevertheless, if you model what energy access means, it’s often defined as, you have enough to turn on lights or charge your cellphone. But when you talk about even a fraction of the standard of living we take for granted—driving a car, having a refrigerator, having an air conditioner—the numbers are massive. They’re just huge, and the population of Africa’s going to double to 2.2 billion by the year 2050. So these are really big numbers and we need to recognize how hard this is. But we should also recognize that it is possible. We have a lot of the tools we need. We need innovation in technology and we need stronger policy, whether that’s a carbon price or standards for different sectors. And then, of course, we need private-sector actors to step up as well, and all of us. And we have these great commitments to achieve these goals with a lot of capital being put to work, and now we need to hold people accountable to make sure that they do that. So, again, I look back on the last two weeks or before, two weeks of COP, the gap between ambition and reality got bigger. Not necessarily a bad thing—ambition is a good thing—but now it’s time to turn the ambition into action. We need governments to follow through on their pledges. Good news is we have a wide menu of options for reducing emissions. The bad news is there’s not a lot of time at our current rate of emissions. And emissions are still going up each and every year. They’re not even falling yet. Remember, what matters is the cumulative total, not the annual flow. At our current rate of emissions, the budget—carbon budget for staying below 1.5 (degrees) is used up in, around a decade or so, so there’s not much time to get to work. But I’m really excited about what we’re building with the first climate school in the country here at Columbia. When it comes to pushing—turning ambition into action, that requires research, it requires education, and it requires engaging with partners in civil society and the public sector and the private sector to help turn that research into action. And the people we’re working with here every day on campus are the ones who are going to be the leaders that are going to hopefully do a better job—(laughs)—than we’ve done over the last few decades. So whatever you’re doing at your educational institution—be it teaching or research or learning—we all have a role to play in the implementation of responsible, forward-thinking energy policy. I’m really excited to have the chance to talk with you all today. Look forward to your questions and to the conversation. Thank you again. FASKIANOS: Jason, that’s fantastic. Thank you very much for that informative and sobering view. So let’s turn to all of you now for your questions. So I’m going to go first to—I have one raised hand from Stephen Kass. Q: OK. Thank you. Jason, thank you for the very useful and concise summary. What specific kinds of energy programs do you think developing countries should now be pursuing? Should they be giving up coal entirely? Should they be importing natural gas? Should they be investing in renewables or nuclear? What recipe would you advise developing countries to pursue for their own energy needs? BORDOFF: It’s going to need to be a lot of different things, so there’s no single answer to that, of course. And by the way, I’ll just say it would be super helpful if people don’t mind just introducing yourself when you ask a question. That would be helpful to me, at least. I appreciate it. I think they need to do a lot of different things. I think I would start with low-hanging fruit, and renewable electricity is not the entire answer. The sun and wind are intermittent. Electricity can’t do certain things yet, like power ships and airplanes. But the low cost of solar and wind, I think, does mean it’s a good place to start, and then we need to think about those other sectors as well. I think a key thing there comes back to finance, and that’s why we’re spending so much time on it with our research agenda here. Access to financing and cost of capital are really important. Clean energy tends to be more capital-intensive and then, like solar and wind, more CAPEX, less OPEX over time. But attaining financing in poor countries is really difficult and expensive. Lack of experience with renewable energy, local banks are often reluctant to lend to those kinds of projects. And then foreign investors, where most of that capital is going to come from, view projects often in emerging markets and developing economies particularly as more risky. Local utilities may not be creditworthy. There’s currency inflation risk in many developing countries, people worry about recouping their upfront investment if bills are paid in local currency. There’s political risk, maybe corruption, inconsistently enforced regulations. And it can be harder to build clean energy infrastructure if you don’t have other kinds of infrastructure, like ports, and roads, and bridges and a good electrical grid. So I would start there. And I think there’s a role for those countries to scale up their clean energy sectors, but also for policymakers and multilateral development banks and governments elsewhere—there was a lot of focus in Glasgow on whether the developed countries would make good on their promise made in Copenhagen to send $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries. And they fell short of that. But even that is kind of a rounding error, compared to the one to two trillion (dollars) a year that the International Energy Agency estimates is needed. So there are many other things besides just writing a check that government, like in the U.S. or elsewhere, can do. The Development Finance Corporation, for example, can lend to banks in local and affordable rates, finance projects in local currency, expand the availability of loan guarantees. I’ve written before about how I think even what often gets called industrial policy, let’s think about some sectors—in the same way China did with solar or batteries fifteen years ago. Are there sectors where governments might help to grow domestic industries and, by doing that, scale—bring down the cost of technologies that are expensive now, the premium for low-carbon or zero-carbon cement or steel. It’s just—it’s not reasonable to ask a developing country to build new cities, and new highways, and all the new construction they’re going to do with zero-carbon steel and cement because it’s just way too expensive. So how do you bring those costs down? If we think about investments, we can make through U.S. infrastructure or other spending to do that, that not only may help to grow some domestic industries and jobs here, that can be its own form of global leadership if we’re driving those costs of those technologies down to make it cheaper for others to pick up. So I think that’s one of the places I’d start. But there are a lot of other things we need to do too. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question—and let me just go back. Stephen Kass is an adjunct professor at NYU. So the next question is a written question from Wei Liang, who is an assistant professor of international policy studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. And the question is: I wonder if you could briefly address the Green Climate Fund and individual countries’ pledge on that. BORDOFF: Yeah, I mean, it touches a little bit on what I said a moment ago about the need for developed countries to provide climate finance to developing countries. And so I think that’s—it’s important that we take those obligations seriously, and that we, in advanced economies, step up and make those funds available. And but, again, we’re talking—the amount we’re still talking about is so small compared to the amounts that are needed to deal both with the impacts of climate change, and then also to curb climate change, to mitigate climate change. Because we know that developing countries are in the parts of the world that will often be most adversely impacted by climate impacts—droughts, and heat waves, and storms, and food security issues—from a standpoint of equity are the parts of the world that have done the least to cause this problem, responsible for very few emissions. If you look cumulatively at emissions since the start of the industrial age, about half—nearly half have come from the U.S. and EU combined. Two percent from the entire continent of Africa. So they are using very little energy today, haven’t therefore contributed to the problems, and have the fewest resources, of course, to cope with the impacts, and also to develop in a cleaner way. Sometimes it’s cheaper to develop in a cleaner way. Renewables are often today competitive with coal, even without subsidy. But there are many areas where that’s not the case, and there is a cost. And we need to help make sure that, you know, we’re thinking about what a just transition looks like. And that means many different things for different communities, whether you’re a coal worker or an agricultural worker in California that may, you know, be working outside in worse and worse heat. But it also means thinking about the parts of the world that need assistance to make this transition. So I think we need to be taking that much more seriously. FASKIANOS: Next question is a raised hand from Tara Weil, who is an undergraduate student at Pomona College. Q: Hi. So, given that developed nations are the largest contributors to carbon emissions, as you’ve said, how can larger powers be convinced as to the importance of addressing global inequality with regards to climate change? And thank you so much, also, for giving this talk. BORDOFF: Yeah. Thank you for being here. I don’t have a great answer to your question. I mean, the politics of foreign aid in general are not great, as we often hear in events at CFR. So I do think one—we need to continue to encourage, through political advocacy, civil society, and other ways, governments in advanced economies to think about all the tools they have at their disposal. I think the ones that are going to be—I’m reluctant to try to speak as a political commenter rather than a climate and energy commenter on what’s going to work politically. But part of that is demonstrating what—it’s not just generosity. It is also in one’s self-interest to do these things. And just look at the pandemic, right? What would it look like for the U.S. to show greater leadership, or any country to show even greater leadership and help cope with the pandemic all around the world in parts of the world that are struggling to vaccinate their people? That is not only an act of generosity, but it is clearly one of self-interest too, because it’s a pretty globalized economy and you’re not going to be able to get a pandemic under control at home if it’s not under control abroad. Of course, the same is true of the impacts of climate change. It doesn’t matter where a ton of CO2 comes from. And we can decarbonize our own economy, but the U.S. is only 15 percent of annual emissions globally. So it’s not going to make a huge difference unless everyone else does that as well. There is also the potential, I think, to—and we see this increasingly when you look at the discussion of the Biden infrastructure bill, how they talk about the U.S.-China relationship, which of course are the two most important countries from the standpoint of climate change. It is one of cooperation. That was one of the success stories in Glasgow, was a commitment to cooperate more. We’ll see if we can actually do it, because it’s a pretty difficult and tense U.S.-China relationship right now. So the question is, can you separate climate from all those other problems on human rights, and intellectual property, and everything else and then cooperate on climate? It’s been hard, but there’s a renewed commitment to try to do that. But also, a recognition that action in the clean energy space is not only about cooperation but it’s also about economic competition. And you have seen more and more focus on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle on thinking about the security of supply chains, and critical minerals, and the inputs in lithium and rare earth elements that go into many aspects of clean energy. To my point before about aspects of industrial policy that might help grow your own domestic economy, I think there are ways in which countries can take measures that help—that help their own economies and help workers and help create jobs, and that in the process are helping to drive forward more quickly the clean energy technologies we need, and bring down the cost of those technologies to make them more accessible and available in some of the less-developed countries. So I think trying to frame it less as do we keep funds at home, do we write a check abroad? But there are actually many steps you could do to create economic opportunities and are win-win. Without being pollyannish about it, I think there is some truth to some of those. And I think we can focus on those politically as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take an international question from Luciana Alexandra Ghica, who is an associate professor for international cooperation at the University of Bucharest. What type of topics do you think we should address immediately in university programs that provide training in climate, development, global policies, or international public affairs, so that a new generation of leaders really pushes forward the agenda on climate change? BORDOFF: Yeah. Well, I’ll say a quick word about what we’re doing at Columbia, and maybe it’s relevant to that question, because Columbia has made this historic commitment to build a climate school. There are many initiatives, and centers, and institutes. There was not only a handful of schools—law school, business school, medical school, engineering school. And it is the largest commitment a university can make to any particular topic, is something on the scale of a school with degree-granting authority and tenure-granting authority, and all the things that come with a school. And it’s just the scale at a place like Columbia, and many other places, is just enormous. That’s what we’re doing on climate. We have created a climate school. And I’m honored President Bollinger asked me to help lead it. And we’re going to build a faculty. We have our first inaugural class of masters’ students, about ninety students that are going through the program right now, and we have a building in Manhattan for the climate school, and on and on. The idea—but the question is, what is climate, right? Because academia has been historically organized into traditional academic disciplines. So you have people who you hire through a tenured search, and they go to the engineering faculty and build their lab there. And there’s law professors, and their business school professors, and on and on and on, social work. But for climate, you need all of those, right? They all kind of need to come together. And, like, interdisciplinary doesn’t even sort of do justice to what it means to think about approaching this systemic—it’s a systemic challenge. The system has to change. And so whatever solution you’re talking about—if you want to get hydrogen to scale in the world, let’s—you know, for certain sectors of the economy that may be hard to do with renewable energy, or in terms of renewable energy and, say, green hydrogen. You need engineering breakthroughs to bring down the cost of electrolyzers, or you need new business models, or you need financial institution frameworks that figure out how you’re going to put the capital into these things. You need the policy incentives. How are you going to—you need permitting and regulation. How do we permit hydrogen infrastructure? It’s barely been done before. There are concerns in the environmental justice community about some aspects of technologies like that or carbon capture that need to be taken seriously and addressed. There are geopolitical implications, potentially, to starting to build a global trade in ammonia or hydrogen, and what security concerns—energy security concerns might accompany those, the way we thought about oil or gas from Russia into Europe. I have an article coming out in the next issue of Foreign Affairs about the geopolitics of the energy transition. So we need disciplines that come together and look at a problem like that in all of those multifaceted dimensions, so we can figure out how to get from a lab to scale out in the world. And so when we think about the areas of concentration here, climate finance, climate justice, climate in society, climate in international security—I mean, a range of things that I think are really important to help people understand. And that’s going to be a major focus of what we do at the climate school here. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Let’s go next to Sean Grossnickle, who has raised his hand. A graduate student at Fordham University. Q: Speak now? Hi, this is not Sean but Henry Schwalbenberg, also at Fordham, where I teach in our international political economy and development program. I went to a conference about a month ago in Rome. And there was a physicist from CERN. And he was a big advocate of something I’d never heard of, and this is this thorium for nuclear reactors. And he was going through all the pros, but I wanted a more balanced perspective on it. And I’m hoping that you might give me a little pros and cons of this thorium nuclear reactor technique. BORDOFF: Yeah. I will be honest and say that nuclear is not my area of focus. We have a pretty strong team here that works in nuclear, and I think is optimistic about the breakthroughs we’re going to see in several potential areas of nuclear—advanced nuclear technology, that being one of them, or small modular reactors, and others. At a high level, I will say I do think if you’re serious about the math of decarbonization and getting to net zero by 2050, it’s hard to do without zero-carbon nuclear power. It’s firm, baseload power. It runs all the time. Obviously, there are challenges with intermittency of solar and wind, although they can be addressed to some extent with energy story. Most of the analyses that are done show not necessarily in the U.S. but in other parts of the world significant growth in nuclear power. The International Energy Agency just modeled what it looks like to get to net zero by 2050, and this pathway that got a lot of attention for saying things like we would not be investing in new oil and gas supply. The world has to change a lot pretty quickly. And they have about a hundred new nuclear plants being built by 2030, so that’s a pretty big number. So we’re going to need all tools—(laughs)—that we have at our disposal. And unfortunately, I worry we may still fall short. So I think at a high level we need to think really hard about how to improve nuclear technology. The people who know that really well I think are optimistic about our ability to do that. And I will follow up on thorium in particular with my colleagues at Columbia, and happy to follow up with you offline about it. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take a written question from Stephen Bird, who’s an associate professor of political science at Clarkson University. He thanks you, and he wanted you to talk a little bit more about political will. The overall dollar amounts are clear. Much cheaper to address climate change than to ignore it. That said, countries are, clearly, lagging. Is it a case of countries just don’t want to take action now because of issues of fairness or because of lack of domestic political support, i.e., citizens aren’t convinced that they should pay costs now with payoffs that come later, and what might we do to improve that issue in terms of persuading or arguing for more political will? BORDOFF: Yeah. It’s a question for, you know, a political scientist as much as an energy or climate expert, and I wish I had a better answer to it. I think it is—climate is one of the trickiest problems for so many reasons but one of those is there is no acute event now that you sort of respond to, hopefully, and pull everyone together. It’s a set of things that, you know, of course, there would have been storms and droughts before but we know they’re intensified and made worse. It’s hard to rally public support. We often respond to a crisis kind of proverbial, you know, frog in the boiling water kind of thing. So that makes it hard. There are huge issues—we talked about a just transition a few minutes ago—there are huge issues with intergenerational equity when we talk about climate. There are, clearly, climate impacts and damages today but some of the worst will be in the future, including for people who may not be born yet, and we don’t do a great job in our political environment about thinking about those and valuing them today and how you do that, and from an economic standpoint, of course, there are questions about discount rates you apply and everything else. I think, politically, one of the things that has mobilized stronger climate—support for climate action, so it is encouraging that if you look at polling on climate change, the level of urgency that the public in many countries, including the U.S., broadly, ascribe to acting on climate has gone up a lot. It’s higher today than it was, you know, a decade or so ago. That’s a result of people seeing the impacts and also advocacy campaigns and political campaigns. It is often tied to—it’s like a win-win. Like, President Biden says when he thinks of climate he thinks of jobs, and so we’re going to deal with climate and we’re going to grow the economy faster and we’re going to create jobs, and there is truth to that. It is also the case that there are costs. The cost of inaction are higher, but there are costs associated with the transition itself. So if you survey the American public, I think, climate, according to the latest YouGov/Economist poll I saw, you know, it was number two on the list of things they cared the most about. That’s much higher than in the past. And then if you ask the American public are they willing to pay $0.25 a gallon more at the pump to act on climate, 75 percent say no. And you look at the challenges the Biden administration is having right now sort of thinking about a really strong set of measures to put in place to move the ball forward on climate, but acute concern today about where oil prices are and inflation and natural gas prices as we head into the winter. If the weather is cold then it’s going to be really expensive for people to heat their homes in parts—some parts of the country like New England, maybe. So that’s a reality, and I think we need to—it was interesting, in the roundtable we did with President Obama with climate activists, that was a message he had for them. You know, be impatient, be angry, keep the pressure on, but also be pragmatic. And by that he means, like, you know, try to see the world through the eyes of others and people who are worried about the cost of filling up at the pump, the cost of paying their heating bills. They’re not—some of them may not be where you are yet. They may not have the same sense of urgency with acting on climate that many of us on this Zoom do and need to take those concerns seriously. So I think that’s a real challenge, and it can be addressed with good policy, to some extent, right, if you think about the revenue raised from a carbon tax and how it could be redistributed in a way that reduce the regressive impacts. I’ve written about how, at a high level—I’ll say one last point—if we get on track for an energy transition, which we’re not on yet, right. (Laughs.) Oil and gas use are going up each and every year. But imagine we started to get on track where those were falling year after year. It’s still going to take decades, and that process of transition is going to be really messy. It’s going to be really volatile. We’re going to have fits and starts in policy from Obama to Trump to Biden. We’re going to make estimate—we’re going to make bets on technologies and maybe get those technologies wrong or misunderstand the cost curves, the potential to shut down investment in certain forms of energy before the rest are ready to pick up the slack. If it’s messy and volatile and bumpy, that’s not only harmful economically and geopolitically, it will undermine public support for stronger climate action. So you see, like, in Washington they’re selling off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because we’re moving to a world beyond oil and also we have all this domestic oil now with shale. We need more, not fewer, tools to mitigate volatility for the next several decades if we’re serious about making this transition, and I think the same is true for thinking about sort of buffers you could build into geopolitics, foreign policy, and national security, because there will be—in a post-oil and gas world, you know, you may say, well, we’re not going to worry as much about the Middle East or about, you know, Russia’s leverage in Europe. But there will be new risks created and we can talk about what some of those might be, and we need new tools of foreign policy to mitigate those potential foreign policy risks. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question. Raised hand from Chloe Demrovsky, adjunct instructor at NYU. Q: Hey, can you hear me? BORDOFF: Yes. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hi. Chloe Demrovsky, adjunct at NYU and president and CEO of Disaster Recovery Institute International. Thanks for being with us, Jason. So my question is about the feasibility and your thoughts on artificially altered clouds or solar geoengineering. What are the ethical and geopolitical implications of, perhaps, using this to buy a little time for our energy transition? Thanks. BORDOFF: Yeah. A super interesting question, and I will say, again, I’m sort of—think of myself as an energy expert. So that is where I spend more time than thinking about tools like solar geoengineering. I guess, it seems there’s, obviously, huge risks associated with something like that and we need to understand them. We need to do research. We need to figure out what those risks may be. There are global governance concerns. It’s actually pretty cheap to do solar geoengineering. So what happens when some country or some billionaire decides they want to start spraying stuff into the atmosphere to cool the planet? And for those who don’t know that, you know, solar—I mean, you think of after a volcano the planet cools a little bit because of all the particulates up in the atmosphere. When you model in an energy system model how much phasing out coal will reduce warming, you, obviously, have much less carbon dioxide emissions but that’s offset slightly—not completely, of course—it’s offset a little bit by the fact that you have less local air pollution, which is a good thing from air pollution. But air pollution has a slightly cooling effect, because you have these little particles floating around that reflect sunlight. So the idea is can we create that artificially and cool the planet, and you can imagine lots of reasons why that could go wrong when you’re trying to figure out what—how much to put in there, what unintended consequences could be. You still have other impacts of carbon dioxide like ocean acidification. Maybe you go too far in one direction, that’s like you’re setting the thermostat. That’s why one of the companies doing carbon removal is called Global Thermostat. You’re kind of figuring out what temperature it should be. But I will say so it’s an area that needs research and I think, given how far we are away from achieving goals like 1.5 and net-zero 2050, I guess what I would say is in the same way that when I worked in the Obama administration it was—I wouldn’t say controversial, but there were some people who didn’t want to talk about adaptation because it was kind of a more—there was a moral hazard problem there. It was, you know, less pressure to mitigate and reduce emissions if we thought adaptation was a solution. People worry about that from the standpoint of solar geoengineering. But the likelihood—I hope I’m wrong, but the likelihood that we roll the clock forward, you know, later this decade and we realize we’ve made progress but we’re still pretty far short, and the impacts of climate change in the same way the IPCC 1.5 report said, you know what, 1.5 is going to be pretty bad, too, and that’s even worse than we thought, the more we learn about climate the more reason there is to be concerned, not less concerned. It seems very plausible to me that we will kind of come to a growing consensus that we have to think about whether this technology can, as you said, buy us time. This is not something you do permanently. You need to get to net zero to stop global warming. But if you want to reduce the impacts of warming on the rate of Arctic sea ice melt and all the rest, can you buy time, extend the runway, by doing this for some number of decades. And I think—I don’t have a strong view on the right answer to that. But I think it’s something we, certainly, need to be thinking about researching and understanding what the consequences would be because we’re going to have to figure out how to take more abrupt actions to close that gap between ambition and reality unless the reality starts to change much more quickly than is the case right now. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I saw a raised hand from Maya but she lowered it. So if you want to raise your hand again, please do so. And in the meantime, I’m going to take a written question from Jennifer Sklarew, who’s an assistant professor of energy and sustainability at George Mason University. Was CCS/CCUS, which carbon capture and storage/carbon capture utilization and storage, to write out those acronyms, promoted as a climate change solution in Glasgow and was there a pushback against this technology option as both a climate change solution and a support mechanism for continued fossil fuel use? BORDOFF: There was some pushback but, I think, actually, more in the other direction. So I think there has been a growing recognition from many in the climate world that carbon capture technology, carbon removal technology, need to be part of the solution. I think there’s almost no climate model at this point that shows how you would get to 1.5 degrees or net zero—1.5 degrees without huge amounts of negative emissions—carbon removal. Some of that can be nature based, but a lot of it will be—some of it will be technology based as well and focusing on what we care about, which is the emissions, is the most important thing. So and this is not, I don’t think, the primary thing you’re going to do. You want to do the things that are easiest and cheapest and present the fewest risks. So putting a lot of renewables into the grid, getting electrification into the vehicle fleet—there’s a lot of things that you would do before that. But if you think about some of the sectors in the economy we talked about before that are hard to decarbonize like steel and cement, it may well be the case that carbon capture is part of the technology there. There was a big announcement yesterday from the NET Power Allam Cycle gas plant in Texas that they had finally come online with delivering net-zero power to the grid. It was sort of a milestone in that technology. So we need to advance this technology and figure out how we’re going to—how we’re going to get where we need to be. We need to hold that kind of technology accountable to make sure that it’s actually meeting the standards we’re talking about so that it actually is very low, if not zero, carbon. But if you look at, you know, most of the scenarios I’m aware of, whether it’s—Princeton did the study “Net-Zero America,” how we get to net zero by 2050 in the U.S. The International Energy Agency, as I said, did it for net zero globally. There is a meaningful role for carbon capture, to some extent, in the power sector in these heavy industry sectors like steel and cement, and then making, say, hydrogen some of that will be blue hydrogen. Most of it, eventually, will be green, but there may be some role for blue hydrogen, which is—which is gas with carbon capture. So I think, if anything, there’s been a growing understanding that we need all tools on deck right away and, again, I fear even with all the tools we may still fall short. FASKIANOS: Great. There’s a written question from Laila Bichara, who’s at SUNY Farmingdale, international business. There was a New York Times article, “Business Schools Respond to a Flood of Interest in ESG,” talking about the issue of the scarcity of skills in recent graduates to help with social impact, sustainable investments, climate finance, and social entrepreneurship. And she wanted to know if there are resources that you could point the group to in terms of foundation courses or certification that would provide all students with a basic foundation. BORDOFF: Yeah. That’s a really good question and it’s a growing area of focus and I think universities should be doing more in. The Tamer Center of Columbia Business School does a lot of work in ESG. We hosted a really interesting roundtable at the Center on Global Energy Policy yesterday on ESG and actually been doing a lot of work thinking about that in the context of state-owned enterprises and national oil companies, which we don’t talk about enough. But they’re a really, really big part of the problem we’re talking about. We tend to focus more on these very well-known private sector companies or financial institutions in places like New York. So there—Bloomberg Philanthropies has done a huge amount in this space. I think there’s some really good educational programs with some universities and business schools that have done a lot in the ESG space. But I think it’s a need, to be frank. I mean, the fact that you’re asking the question and I’m pointing to a few examples, but not a huge number, and it is something that universities need to educate themselves about but then is an opportunity for us to educate others. Maybe a revenue one, too, with executive education or something. But there’s a lot of companies and financial institutions that want to understand this better. I worry that while there’s a huge growing focus on climate, which is a good thing, in the financial community, the phrase ESG kind of means so many different things right now. It’s this alphabet soup of regulations and standards and disclosure requirements, and some may make a difference and some may not and it’s hard to figure out which ones matter, and for people who want to do the responsible thing what does that really mean. That’s an area where research is needed. I mean, that’s a role for what we do every day to think about if the SEC is going to regulate what makes a difference and what doesn’t, if you’re going to create green bonds. If you’re going to call everything green in the finance community, what’s real and what’s not? What moves the needle? What doesn’t? What are the returns for greener portfolios? How is that affecting the cost of capital for clean energy versus dirty energy? You know, on and on. I think those are important research questions for us to take on and then it’s our job to help educate others as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So the next question I’m going to take from—oh, OK. Good. Maya Copeland (sp) has written her question. She’s a political science major at Delaware State University. Do you believe developed nations like the U.S. have done a lot in reference to climate change or mostly talk? If you believe nations like the U.S. have dropped the ball in this aspect, what do you think it would take to get those powerhouses serious about environmental change? BORDOFF: I think advanced economies have done—many have done a lot. I mean, the European Union has taken climate seriously and has reduced emissions and has pretty strong measures in place with a carbon market, for example, with a pretty high carbon price right now. The politics of this issue are not quite as favorable in the U.S., but the U.S. has seen emissions decline more than most over the last decade and a half, in part because of policy measures that have, you know, advanced renewable energy and brought the cost of that down as well as cheaper natural gas displacing coal for a while. But at a broader level, you know, have we done enough? The answer is no one’s done enough—(laughs)—which is why emissions are still going up every single year. So that—so the answer is no, we haven’t done enough. Almost no country has done enough at home to be on a trajectory for net zero 2050. You saw the announcements from countries like India saying, we’ll get to net zero by 2070, and, you know, people said, oh, well, that’s terrible. They’re not saying 2050. And implicit in that is sort of saying, well, if you want to get global to net zero by 2050 we’re not all going to move at the same speed, right. Some countries have advanced with the benefit of hydrocarbons since the Industrial Age and some haven’t. So, presumably, the pathways are going to look different, right. And, you know, that’s not always how countries in the advanced—in the developing—in the developed world talk about it. The commitment from the Biden administration is net zero by 2050. So I would say there’s been—there are some models to point to of countries that have taken this issue seriously but we’re not doing enough and partly because the political will is not there and partly—I come back to what I said before—this problem is harder than people realize. So you say which countries are doing enough, like, point to some models, right, and somebody might point to Norway, which, you know, the share of new vehicles sold that are electric in Norway went from zero to, I think, it’s 70 percent now. I mean, that’s amazing. Seventy percent of new car sales are electric. And if you go back to the start of that trajectory, about a decade or decade and a half, oil demand is unchanged in Norway. So we can talk about why that is and it’s because a lot—as I said earlier, a lot of oil is used for things other than cars, and it’s increased for trucks and planes and petrochemicals. It takes time for the vehicle fleet to turn over. So when you start selling a bunch of electric cars, you know, average car is on the road for fifteen years so it takes a while before that—the vehicle stock turns over. So I saw that kind of mapped out on a chart recently, just two lines—one is electric vehicle sales going straight up and then the other is oil demand in a flat line. It’s a reminder of how unforgiving the math of decarbonization is. The math of climate is really unforgiving, like, you know, the kind of harmful impacts we’re going to see with even 1.5 degrees warming. But the math of energy and decarbonization is really unforgiving, too. It’s—and we just need to be honest with ourselves about what it takes to get where we need to go. Because I think it’s good to have optimism and ambition, but I worry there should be optimism but not happy talk. We should recognize that there’s a lot of work to do and let’s get to work doing it. FASKIANOS: Great. So there are several questions in the chat about China. I’m going to start off with Andrew Campbell, who’s a student at George Mason University. Is LNG—liquefied natural gas—a bridge toward renewable energy still being considered? If not, how are India and China’s expected growth and increase in coal use going to be addressed? And then there are a couple of other comments or questions about China. You know, what’s your take on China as the biggest emitter and return somewhat to coal? Can we actually even make stated and adequate new goals? And, you know, given the relationship between U.S. and China, which is contentious, you know, what is the cooperation going to be between U.S. and China on climate? So there’s a lot packed in there, but I know you can address it all. (Laughs.) BORDOFF: Yeah. I think the China question is really hard, as I said earlier, this kind of, like, competition and cooperation and we’re going to try to do both, and I think there was a hope early on—Secretary Kerry said it—that climate could be segmented from the broader challenges in the U.S.-China relationship, and I think that has proven harder to do than people had hoped, in part, because, you know, you need both parties to want to do that. I think China has signaled it’s not necessarily willing to segment cooperation on climate from lots of other issues. And then these things bleed together where, you know, there’s measures being taken in Washington to restrict imports of solar panels from China, that there were concerns that were made with—in ways that have human rights abuses associated with them with forced labor or maybe have unfair trade practices in terms of subsidies. China is—you know, the leadership in China takes climate seriously. This is a country that recognizes, I think, climate change is real and that needs to be addressed. They have a set of national interests that matter a lot, obviously, to them in terms of economic growth, and the pathway to get there is challenging. So it’s a country that’s growing clean energy incredibly quickly, as we’re seeing right now, in part because there’s a(n) energy crunch throughout Europe and Asia. They are ramping up the use of coal quite a bit again, but also taking some pretty strong measures to advance clean energy and, over time, hopefully, move in a lower carbon direction for reasons both about concerns over climate but also local air pollution, which is much, much worse in many parts of China than it is here and that’s a huge source of concern for the public there. So when it comes to things like coal they need to figure out how to address those air pollution problems. And then for reasons of economic competition, like I mentioned a minute ago. I mean, China dominates the global market for refining and processing of critical minerals for solar panels, and there are economic and national competitiveness and strategic reasons to do that. So all of those things motivate them to move in the direction of clean energy, but they need to be moving faster to phase down hydrocarbon energy for sure. And then you ask a really hard question about—not hard, but one of the most contentious questions is about the role of natural gas in the transition, and we can have a whole separate session about that. I think there is a view of many in the climate community and many in developing countries—in developed countries that there’s not space left in the carbon budget for natural gas, and you saw the Biden administration recently declare through the Treasury Department that, except in very rare cases of the poorest of the poor like Sierra Leone or something, they would not finance natural gas projects through the multilateral development banks. The vice president of Nigeria, I think, responded—speaking of CFR—in Foreign Affairs by writing that this was not fair and you need to think about a viable pathway for a country like Nigeria to develop and it just—it doesn’t work to get there that fast. There has to be a bridge. The role of gas looks very different in different parts of the world. It looks different in the U.S. than it does in an emerging or a developing economy. It looks different in the power sector, where there are a lot more alternatives like renewables than it does in heavy industry or how we heat our homes. It looks different for, say, in the Global South, where you’re talking about people who are still using coal and charcoal and dung for cooking to think about solutions like liquefied petroleum gas. So all of those things are true, but we need to think about gas also with the carbon budget in mind. I mean, the math is just the math. (Laughs.) If you’re going to build any gas infrastructure and not have it blow through the carbon budget, it’s going to have to be retired before the end of its normal economic life and you need to think about how that might look in different parts of the world. So you need to be fair to people, to allow them to grow, but also recognize that the math of carbon, you know, is what it is. FASKIANOS: Great. I just want to credit those last—the China questions came from Lada Kochtcheeva at North Carolina State University and Joan Kaufman, who’s director of Schwarzman Scholars based in China. We are really at the end of our time—we started a couple minutes late—and I just wanted to go back to—there are students on the call who are following with a professor on the webinar who wanted you just to comment on blue hydrogen, whether or not it is contributing or helping to reduce greenhouse gases. BORDOFF: I think the answer is it can. You just need to make sure that it actually does. So the question of—and by blue hydrogen we mean, you know, using gas with carbon capture to create hydrogen. It needs to have very low methane leakage rates. It needs to have very high capture rates, and we know that is technically possible. It doesn’t mean it will be done that way. So if people are going to pursue blue hydrogen as part of the solution in the—particularly in the near term, you need to make sure that it’s meeting those standards. I think in the long run my guess and, I think, most guesses would be that green hydrogen is going to make more sense. It’s going to be cheaper. The cost is going to come down. And so if we have a significant part of the energy sector that is hydrogen and ammonia in, say, 2050, more of that’s going to be green than blue. But there can be a role for blue if you make sure it’s done the right way. You just have to actually make sure it’s done the right way. FASKIANOS: Great. And, Jason, we are out of time, but I wanted to give you one last, you know, one-minute or thirty seconds, whatever you want, just to say some parting words on your work at the center or, you know, to leave the group with what they can do, again. So— BORDOFF: Well, I would just say thanks for the chance to be with you all and for the work that you’re doing every day. You know, I think Glasgow was a moment when the world came together to elevate ambition and roll up our sleeves and say this is—this is the decisive decade. Like, we’ll know ten years from now—(laughs)—if we got anywhere close to making it or not. And so it’s time for everyone to kind of roll up their sleeves and say, what can we do? We’re doing that, I think, at Columbia with the creation of this new climate school. We do that every day at the Center on Global Energy Policy. And so just in all of your institutions, you know, what does that mean for you? What does it mean for the institution? What does that mean for your own research and time and how you allocate it? How do we step up and say, what can we do in the biggest and boldest way we can? Because we need—we’re creating a climate school because I think the view is—you know, a hundred years ago there were no schools of public health and now it’s how would you deal with a pandemic without a school of public health? So I think our view is decades from now we’ll look back and wonder how we ever thought it was possible to handle a problem as complex and urgent as climate change without universities devoting their greatest kind of resource to them. And the measure of success for universities has to be research and new knowledge creation. It has to be education. It has to be serving our own communities. For us, it’s, you know, the community here in New York, Harlem. But also are we focusing the extraordinary resources and capacity and expertise of these great institutions to solve humanity’s greatest problems? That has to be a motivating force, too, for much of—maybe not all of but a lot of what universities do. So I’d just ask all of us to go back and think about how we can do that in our own work every day. and we have to do it through partnerships. I think universities don’t work together as well as they need to. But this is only going to work if we work together. FASKIANOS: Great way to end. Thank you very much, Jason Bordoff. We really appreciate it. We’ll have to look for your article in Foreign Affairs magazine, which is published by CFR. So, we are excited that you continue to contribute to the magazine. You can follow Jason Bordoff on Twitter at @JasonBordoff. Very easy to remember. Our final academic webinar of the semester will be on Wednesday, December 1, at 1:00 p.m. (ET). Michelle Gavin, who is CFR’s Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, will talk about African politics and security issues. So in the meantime, follow us at @CFR_Academic. Come to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you. Take care. BORDOFF: Thank you. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: The Role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions
    Play
    Antonio Flores, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), leads a conversation on the role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in higher education. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted and honored to have Dr. Antonio Flores with us today to discuss the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions. Dr. Flores is president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Established in 1986, HACU represents more than five hundred colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Europe. During his tenure as president of HACU, the association has nearly tripled its membership and budget, expanded its programs, and improved legislation for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and increased federal and private funding for HSIs. He previously served as director of programs and services for the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority, and the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority. And, needless to say, he’s taught at public and private institutions, conducted research and policy studies on higher education issues. And so it really is wonderful to have him with us today to talk about HACU, how HACU is committed to the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and to serving underrepresented populations. Obviously, we are very much looking to develop talent for the next generation of foreign policy leaders, and really look forward to this conversation. So, Antonio, thank you for being with us. It would be great if you could talk about the Hispanic Serving Institutions, their role in higher education, and your strategic vision for HACU broadly. FLORES: Thank you, Irina, for those very flattering remarks and introduction. And of course, we’re delighted to be part of the series here today and talk a little bit about what HSIs are doing and how they can do more of the great work they’ve been doing for the nation, and HACU’s role as well in promoting them. And suffice to say that Hispanic Serving Institutions have become the backbone of not only Hispanic higher education, but also the American labor force. Because there are more—there are more than 560 now HSIs across the nation, enroll the vast majority, more than 5.2 million of them, of underserved students who historically have not been adequately served in higher education, including Latinos. And it just happens that this population, the Hispanic population, is contributing more than half of all the new workers joining the American labor force today. And that proportion is likely to continue to increase in the years ahead. In addition, of course, they serve scores of African Americans, of Asian Americans, Native Americans, and all Americans. So they are really a microcosm of American diversity. And for that very reason, going forward as these populations continue to increase demographically, their representation in the labor force will only continue to develop. The latest Census Bureau report for 2010 to 2020 indicates that more than 51 percent of all the population growth in the nation is attributed to Hispanics. So there we have it. It’s just the reality of the facts. And therefore, HSIs are now the backbone of America’s labor force, because ultimately the demands of the global economy are such that we need to step up to the plate and really educate at a much higher level, and train at a much higher level those underserved populations, particular Hispanics, so that we can remain competitive in that global economy. And that includes the preparation of top-notch leaders for foreign service careers. And so if we were to summarize how we view HSIs with respect to America’s challenges today, and opportunities in the future, I would say that there are three dimensions that define HSIs vis a vis the United States of America and its future in the world. Number one is diversity. And I already alluded to some of that. But diversity is not just with respect to the fact that they have the most diverse student population on their campuses. But it’s also the diversity across types of institutions because we have community colleges, we have regional universities, and we have research-intensive, or R1 institutions. So we have within campuses tremendous diversity, and we have across campuses nationwide institutionally diversity as well. And so that’s the name of the game. And that’s the name of the game for America, is diversity. And it’s the name of the game for the world. It’s a very diverse world out there. And so the more attuned those top-notch leaders that were looking to educate in our institutions are with respect to their diversity, the more not only knowledgeable and experienced and sensitive to that diverse reality of the world and of America, the much better leaders they are going to be. And so diversity, again, is that one unavoidable element of our world and of our country. The second, I think, very important element or dimension of HSIs is the dynamism. They are very dynamic institutions that are really doing a magnificent job with fewer resources than the rest of the field. They don’t have the big pockets or big endowments. They don’t have the applications they need from the federal government they should get. And yet, they excel at educating those who come to their campuses. Just to give you an idea, Opportunity Insights is a name of an organization that does socioeconomic analysis of graduates from students from colleges across the country. And particularly they focus on how institutions educate and position in careers those who come from the lowest quintile of entering freshmen to college. And they believe that those who graduate, they graduate and see what proportion of those who came in the lowest quintile move to the top quintile in terms of earnings. And in the last report I saw, nine of the ten top institutions in that regard were Hispanic Serving Institutions. Nine of the top ten. It’s not the Ivy League institutions, for sure. It is those institutions that I mentioned that are part of our group of HSIs. And in fact, the number one is Cal State LA in that report that I saw. And so, again, because they are very dynamic, creative, innovative, and resourceful with respect to using what little they have to optimize the educational outcomes of those who come to their campuses. And not just educational outcomes, but career outcomes. Once they are in the workforce, their earnings are higher than those of others from the same lowest quintile when they enter college. So dynamism is the second major component. And I would say deliverance. Deliverance for underserved populations is another important quality that HSIs represent, because they are ultimately serving—for the most part, the majority of their students are first-generation college students, many of them from immigrant families who are unfamiliar with the educational system and with the intricacies of going through a college education, because they themselves never had that opportunity to pass down. So they are at a very distinct socioeconomic disadvantage coming from those types of families who are also low income, because to be an HSI not only does an institution have to have more than 25 percent of its enrollment being Hispanic, but also they have to show that the majority of their students are Pell Grant eligible—in other words, needy, low-income students. And the other criterion is that they have to spend on average per student less than the average of their peer institutions. So they are efficient, very cost-effective, and they serve the neediest of our society. So there you have it. Diversity, dynamism, and deliverance for the most needed in our society. That’s what HSIs are all about. And so they really are in need of much greater support from the federal government, the state governments, and from the corporate community and the philanthropic community. And our association advocates for that to be the case, with some success but not enough. We have been able to increase the appropriations for them from Congress over the years, but they are way behind other cohorts of minority-serving institutions that get much more money per student than HSIs do, despite the fact that they—for instance, they not only educate 67 percent of all the 3.8 million Hispanics in college today; they also educate three times as many African Americans as all the HBCUs combined. Let me repeat that: More than three times as many African Americans go to HSIs as they go to HBCUs, OK? And more than 42 percent of all the Asian Americans in college today attend HSIs. They also educate more than twice as many Native Americans as all the tribal colleges and universities put together. And then we have other groups of different national origins who come to our campuses. So they are extremely diverse. And so that’s, in a nutshell, what HSIs are all about. And they’ve been growing, about thirty new HSIs per year, because demographically it’s how the country’s moving. There are more Hispanic young people emerging from high school and going to college than from any other group. And conversely, the non-Hispanic White student enrollment has been declining continually year after year for the last ten years. Look at the numbers. And that’s not going to stop. In major states, like California and Texas, for example, the two largest in the nation, more than 50 percent—about 52-55 percent of the K-12 enrollment is Hispanic. If you add the other minority populations, overwhelmingly these states futures are diverse and Hispanic. And so is the country. Other states are moving in the same direction, whether it’s Florida, or Illinois, or New York, New Jersey. The main states in the nation are moving in those—in that direction. So that’s why it’s so essential for Congress, the states, corporate America, and philanthropic America to invest in these institutions much more than they have been doing, because they represent the very future of this nation. To the extent that the new generations of graduates coming out of them are equipped with the right tools to succeed as scientists, as technicians, as professionals in whatever field they choose, our country will thrive. And the opposite will happen if we don’t. It’s that simple. And so that’s what I wanted to just briefly say as an introductory commentary on HSIs. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much for that. We’re going to go to the group now for their questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to first go to Manuel Montoya, who has raised his hand. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And, Dr. Flores, it’s a real pleasure to have you on the call. I appreciate all the work that you do for HACU and for Hispanic Serving Institutions. I am with the University of New Mexico. I’m an associate professor in international management at UNM, but I also do a lot of work with my cohorts on supporting HSI—our HSI designation. We are a Hispanic Serving Institution and an R1 institution as well. All of the things you said are really important. And I had a comment and then a question. I think this question of—this idea of diversity being the name of the game is not to be underestimated. I think that the students that go through HSI-designated institutions, I think that they have the potential to reshape and recalibrate what we mean when we say we are ambassadorial in the world. And the United States needs to upgrade and change its relational dynamics, political and economic, to include diverse voices that come from the learned and lived experiences of people who traditionally come from first-generation families, first-generation students. And HSIs are equipped to do that. So my question becomes, you mentioned wanting to track some people into the foreign service exam. But what other types of experiences or opportunities do you think are best practices for students that are coming out of HSIs to participate in the larger international relations frameworks and careers that are setting the global agenda? FLORES: That’s a good question, Professor Montoya. And let me share with you briefly something that I mentioned before we started the webinar to friends at CFR. And that is that HACU has a very robust national internship program that places upwards of five hundred undergraduates, and some of our graduate students, with federal agencies, including the State Department. We signed an MOU with the late Secretary Powell, who at that time was very much committed to increasing the number of Latinos in the Foreign Service, and other underrepresented populations. And that remains in place, although not with the numbers that we would like to see. And yet, there are other agencies that also have a foreign or abroad projection, like Department of Agriculture, for example. And others that have offices across the world. And so we are very much into helping them find the right talent they need, and getting them also as interns experience those agencies, and putting them on the right track to become full-fledged employees once they graduate. So that’s one of the things that we’ve been doing. We need to do much more of that. I accept that the number is, as impressive as they may sound, are very minute when it comes to the populations that we’re talking about. And our own association has made it a priority to expand its international reach. And we have, depending on the year, anywhere from forty to fifty universities across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain that are affiliated with us to do precisely what you suggest, which is student mobility and experience abroad. And so—and in both directions, also that they would come to be in the U.S. And so we have the beginnings, I think, of a major push to make sure that many, many more young people who—they have a kind of an almost organic connection to international affairs, in this case Latinos, because most of them come from families who immigrated or have roots in other countries, and are really very much culturally adept to international roles. So your point is well-taken. And you’ll see a lot more activity from our end as an association in that regard. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Shoshana Chatfield. Q: Yes, hello. I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful presentation and for really exposing me to some of the issues that I wasn’t aware of previously. I am the president of the United States Naval War College. And since I’ve been here over the past two years, I have been actively trying to expand our recruiting effort to make our vacancies on our faculty available to members of the community. And yet, I’m not seeing any appreciable difference in the applicant pool. And I wondered if you could advise me how I might approach this differently to raise awareness about hiring to these war colleges who have not traditionally had a high representation of faculty who come from the same backgrounds that you described. FLORES: Thank you. Thank you for your very timely question, President Chatfield. Let me say that one of the first things that I would suggest is that you join our association as a college. Why would that be helpful to your effort? Because then you will connect with presidents and CEOs of five hundred-plus community colleges, regional university, and so forth, and school districts that are also affiliated with that, that are defined as Hispanic-serving school districts. So that even in high school you will have a presence through our association’s outreach to them, and that you also would network with peers of diverse institutions across the country who may have robust pipelines of Ph.D. graduates and others who could fit your own aspirations, in terms of getting some of those faculty on your campus, some of those administrators, and some of those as students. Because, at the end of the day, probably—you probably want to have a much more diverse student body. And that can come from precisely that opportunity to not only interact but formally establish relationships with some of those colleges to transfer, for instance, from community colleges or from high schools that we interact with on a regular basis. So that would be one suggestion. We also have in our association a very, very nimble system called ProTalento. It’s online. That is P-R-O-T-A-L-E-N-T-O, ProTalento. And that that—you can go to our website, find it. And we have on that website a very robust database of individuals who are looking for opportunities at different colleges. That are already teaching, or doing research, or both, and are looking for other opportunities. And also, we have institutions that are looking for them. And the system basically matches them. So you can go there and find a goldmine, so to speak, of talent. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Great question. And we have a written question, a couple written questions in the chat. This one comes from Andrea Purdy, who is an associate professor of Spanish at Colorado State University. We are anticipating reaching HSI status. And in talking to my students, a comment they have made to me is that they don’t always feel welcomed all over the university. There are niches, but overall the sense of belonging is not felt. They also commented that while they are beginning to see themselves in classrooms, they don’t see themselves in the faculty. What suggestions do you have for universities to make sure that the inclusivity is felt at all levels? FLORES: Well, it’s similar to the previous question in some—in some regards, because ultimately the first thing you want to do as a college or university, it has to be job number one, is to create a climate—a campus climate of support and welcoming feelings for the students, that they feel not only appreciated but they feel really supported and welcome to the institution. And so the point made is how can we recruit or how can we diversify faculty and staff? Well, again, you go—you know, when you want to catch fish, you go fishing where the fish are. And the fish are in some of the HSIs, those that are already more developed institutions. And many of them are regional universities or R1s or R2s. And those could be a source of talent for institutions like Colorado State, that is lacking some of their representation. And of course, I want to insist that please visit ProTalento. And you may be surprised how much success you could have in getting people from that database to consider your institution. But of course, faculty and staff who look like the students are essential to create that culture, that campus climate of appreciation and welcoming, I would say. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let’s go next to Rosa Cervantes, who has a raised hand. And please unmute yourself and tell us your affiliation. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you for taking my questions. My name is Rosa Isela Cervantes. I’m the director of El Centro de la Raza at the University of New Mexico, and also special assistant to the president on Latino Affairs. And I really interested in what you said, Mr. Flores, about the diversity of students at HSIs, and that we serve three times the amount of—if I heard correctly—of African American students at HSIs than BCUs, is that correct? Is that— FLORES: That is correct, yes. Q: OK. And I wanted to see if you could expand a little bit about that, and also maybe think through or talk to how we can do some coalition building with folks. Because I really feel like HSIs are completely underfunded, right? You’ve stated it, we’ve heard it. But yet, they’re so robust and they do so many different things for so many different students. I wonder how we might continue—and we’re a member of HACU—but I wonder how we maybe think through some conversations to really get out the word about that idea, that HSIs are that robust, that HSIs do served large populations of students. And sometimes some of the most neediest students that require more money, right, for their funding. And so I just think that’s very interesting. I think—I don’t think a whole lot of people know about it or understand that. I had a faculty member at a different institution actually question me, because I had read that somewhere. And I think we need to talk more about it. So I’m just wondering your thoughts about coalition building and what else we can do, and how other ways that HACU needs our support to make that happen. FLORES: Thank you for your excellent question, Ms. Cervantes. And let me share with you that last week I was in Washington, D.C. most of the week and met with a number of Congress individually, including your great senator, Mr. Lujan. And guess what? There was a lot of good conversation about that point. And I have also talked with a number of African American members of Congress who didn’t know that, and who actually had themselves—(background noise)—and who actually have themselves a significant number of HSIs in their districts. And they didn’t know that they had all these HSIs in their districts. And so I think the word is getting out there. And, more importantly, the appreciation for the fact that these institutions really are very diverse, and not only do they educate the vast majority of Latinos and Latinas, but they also educate a larger number, as we said, of African Americans and others than the HBCUs, for example. And they didn’t know that. And then—so I think that mindset might begin to change, because at the end of the day the funding and support should be focused on the students. And ultimately, if you help the neediest of students you have the more diverse population, but you have the fewest dollars per student coming from Congress. There has to be something wrong there with that equation. So there is an inequity that we are, as an association, trying to remedy. And we need all the help we can get from all—our own Latino organizations and HSIs, but also from others including the HBCUs. It’s not about reducing funding for them or anything like that. They can and should be getting even more. But not—but HSIs shouldn’t be treated as second-class institutions. They are not. They are the backbone, again, of America’s labor force, in terms of training that labor force to be competitive in the global economy. So they have to be treated appropriately and equitably. Basically, it’s about equity in terms of funding. And right now, things are not at all equitable, but we’re changing that gradually. And thank you for your question. Q: Gracias. FASKIANOS: So we have a written—several written questions. So Sandra Castro, who is assistant dean of the undergraduate programs at Adelphi University says: What recommendations do you have for institutions that are striving to become HSIs in preparing for this designation? What internal changes and institutional infrastructure is necessary to truly serve the Latino student body? FLORES: I will suggest three things. One is, begin to work more closely with institutions that are already HSIs and that are doing a good job being HSIs, that are recognized for having, as they say, best practices with respect to being an HSI. And learn from them. Learn how it is that they do what they do well. And begin to then—and the second point is, educate your own leadership at your institution about how they can be much more effective and receptive to the inevitable demographic change in their student population to become an HSI, and how they can make the most of it in terms of student success, and also learning the ropes of how to get grants and funding to improve services for this population. And the third thing that I would recommend very strongly is that, you know, take a very hard look at all of your outreach and marketing materials, and revise them accordingly so that you reflect that commitment to diversity, in particular to Latino inclusion, in terms of bilingual materials and outreach to families and communities. Because many times the decision about whether to go to college or where to go to college by a student is really influenced very heavily by the family, the parents particularly, because of the tremendous pressure that many of them have in starting to work to contribute to the family income, because they come from low-income families. So working with those families and making them aware of the importance of getting a degree, a college degree, and postponing some of that lower-income—some of the minimum-wage salary that they could get as a high school graduate, and working with those families is very important. Working in their language and culture is even more important for some of them. FASKIANOS: Great. I think this is a good segue to the next question from Eric Hoffman, who got an upvote. He’s the dean of the Honors College at Miami Dade College. And his question is: How can we get the Hispanic and Latinx students out of their community and expand their aspirations to colleges and universities in states and areas far from home? FLORES: Well, you know, it’s an excellent question, in the sense that historically—because these are first-generation college students for the most part, whose families have not had the opportunity to educate themselves in college. And their temptation is to stay home. Especially sometimes it’s worse for female students to move away from home. And my suggestion is that you, again, will work with those families as closely as you can to make them aware of the fact that moving away doesn’t mean—moving away physically doesn’t mean moving away from the family otherwise, that they will ultimately remain connected to the family. And now with technology it’s even easier. You know, we have Facetime. We have all kinds of other ways of interacting that were not available just some years ago. And they ultimately need to consider the best options in terms of financial aid and the quality of education they’re going to get, and a few of the studies that they want to pursue. Sometimes all of those things are not available locally, so you have to go where all of those are. And I think that once there is a process of education for the family in that regard, they tend to be much more flexible. We experience some of that with our own national internship program, because we place them primarily in the Washington area, but also in other places. And I personally get to intervene sometimes with some families in their language, in Spanish, to reassure them that the young woman that was going to be placed somewhere else in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere was going to be OK, and she was going to come back home after the ten-week experience, or fifteen-week internship. And, guess what? After they experienced that, their siblings—they were trailblazers for their siblings and for neighbors, and all that. Now we don’t have that problem, at least with our internship program. We have thousands of applicants and, unfortunately, we can only place about five hundred a year, annually. And so it does pay off to invest in working with families closely. And again, it’s a generational effect, because then younger siblings or relatives will not have that kind of issue going forward. FASKIANOS: You had mentioned that you were in D.C. last week meeting with members of Congress. And we obviously have a new secretary of education, Dr. Cardona. Have you seen a shift from the Biden administration in their approach and what they’re doing from a federal level to support the HSIs? FLORES: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there is just no question about that. The shift has been dramatic. And this administration and Congress are—have shifted gears and are actually investing more than anything else in people, investing in the economy to create more jobs, investing in education to prepare the labor force much better, investing in health to protect people from not just the pandemic but from other diseases that we experience. And just in general, the infrastructure, they just passed that bill in the House, is to improve the lives of people across cities, across states, by improving their infrastructure. It is not just about roads and bridges. It is also about water systems that are decaying and are affecting the health of people. It is about the lack of access to broadband connectivity. It is all of those things that will improve the lives of people. And so there, no question. And HSIs have improved—again, not to the extent that they should be supported. But we are in a much better situation now than we were just a couple of years ago. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take Nathan Carter’s written question, and then Mike Lenaghan, I know you wrote a comment/question in the chat, but I’d love for you just to raise it and speak it, because I’m afraid I might not get it exactly correct. So Nathan Carter from Northern Virginia Community College in the Washington D.C. metro area. I am the—NOVA’s chief diversity equity and inclusion officer. We are an emerging HSI. When we look at our enrollment data here in fall 2021, we see a clear decline in quote/unquote “new” Hispanic students, both male and female. We wish to discuss this growing issue and recognize what may be the current obstacles or community issues happening right now in the Hispanic community that will help us explain what we see and how we can reach out to the Hispanic community to help address what could be a growing problem across various states. So I think if you could comment on that, and how to, you know, have that discussion. FLORES: Well, thank you for that question. It’s something that, of course, has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Because a lot of our colleges and universities, HSIs and others, did not have the endowments or the money to immediately make—shift gears in the direction of the technology required to move from in-person to online teaching and learning, and to train faculty and staff to manage all of those new systems. And that’s on the institutional side, that there was that kind of reality of not getting all of the necessary resources to make that shift immediately and successfully. On the receiving end you have families and communities that do not always have the connectivity to broadband and the devices at home and the space at home to learn online. And so it was a one-two punch—institutional and students were hit very hard. And therefore, many of them withdrew. And apart from the fact that when it comes to the rate of infection, hospitalization and death, Latinos were worse hit than any other population, so much so that during the pandemic Latinos shrank their life expectancy by three years, compared to two years for Black and 0.68 years, so less than a year, for non-Hispanic Whites. So you do have all of those things. And ultimately, that means that the students served by these institutions come from those very families that were hardest hit in their health as well. So they couldn’t go to school. They were trying to survive. And many did not. And so there was a drop in the enrollment, and particularly at community colleges, is where the—they were the hardest hit with respect to that, just like that community that is emerging as an HSI. So we are pushing very hard for that to be remedied, not just for the pandemic, but for the long term. Because I think the hybrid models of teaching and learning should—will remain in place for the long haul. And we need to make sure that those families, those communities that have been historically underserved and underfunded get that necessary technology at home to do that type of educational experience. We also need to make sure that the institutions that are suffering the most get the most help to beef up their infrastructure. And not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of expanding classrooms and also creating labs that are very expensive to create for technology of science or engineering types of degrees, which are the most in demand. And in some states, it’s even—it’s worse than in others because a lot of students are homeless. A lot of students are homeless. And in a state like California, where we have the largest concentration of Latinos, for example, that problem has been rampant and recognized by the state as a huge priority. So what they need to do is also build affordable housing even on campuses, so that those students have a place to live in a decent, humane way. And so there are many things that come to create this perfect storm against populations like low-income Latinos, and African Americans, and others. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to ask Mike Lenaghan to ask his question live. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And it’s a pleasure to see you, Dr. Flores. I am Mike Lenaghan from Miami Dade College, and truly cherish the empowerment we’ve enjoyed through the vehicle of HACU. It’s been my experience, basically with a great deal of labor-intensive and purposeful leadership development, to have my scholars—just me, as one faculty member—successfully transfer to over 139 colleges and universities in the United States, all of whom required financial support and almost all of whom were able to avoid loans. This is over a twenty-year period. My question is: How might I, as a faculty member, also someone who’s labor-intensive, be empowered, possibly mediated by HACU, to share basically how to set up my Hispanic students and their families and their relatives for the kind of success my scholars have enjoyed at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, UVA, Duke, UCal Berkeley, and so on? Which, when the right combination of chemistry and self-identification occurs, each of my Hispanic/Latinx scholars basically knows what they uniquely bring and add, as well as what they uniquely can address and engage in each school. I realize I am just a microcosm in a larger macrocosm, but I’m wondering does HACU have a role to play that might mediate some education and sharing, not just a book or a strategy, but something that could be shared, including some of what I like to call my all-stars, who have enjoyed operating in the context of HACU as a launching pad. Thank you, sir. FLORES: Thank you for your very, very important work, Professor Lenaghan. And thank you for your very caring teaching and supporting our students, your scholars. And ultimately, you have a lot to offer to the academic community as a faculty who cares about these students not only doing well but excelling and going to places that perhaps their families never thought of them being able to go. And I think it begins with learning from people like you what is it you’ve been doing so well to help those that you have helped to excel. And HACU can be a platform for you to share that. We ultimately have annual conferences and other meetings where your expertise and your success can be shared with others to adapt it to their own needs and replicate what you’ve been doing so well in other places, so that many more can go onto those very selective institutions, and others. And of course, I don’t know if we’ve been connecting—I insist on this point, on connecting with families, because many of the Latino families—and maybe in the Miami area it’s a little different because a lot of the Cuban and South American families perhaps come from a more middle-class background than in places like Texas or California. And maybe they had already some collegiate experience in their home countries, and they immigrated there, or whatever. But that helps a lot, OK? When they come with that background. But when they don’t, when they are immigrants who come without even a high school diploma from their home countries, and they don’t know the language, their highest expectation is at least to get their high school diploma and start working somewhere. And so taking them to the next level, it takes a lot of work. And it takes a lot of work in terms of making sure that they understand that if their child has the talent, and has the persistence and discipline, et cetera, et cetera, to go places, that they can be very helpful to him or her in ensuring that there is a space at home where they can study, that they do concentrate on their studies, and that they really aim for those places that you mentioned and don’t settle for second-best of going to some institution, but make that their goal: I’m going to go to X or Y Ivy League or very selective institution because I have with it takes, but it’s going to take a lot of nurturing and support. And the parents can be very helpful, even if they don’t have an education, by really making sure that their child has the space and the time at home to concentrate and study. That will go a long way. But really, let them flourish. And so HACU can be a platform in three different ways. One is, allowing individuals like yourself, who are excelling in their teaching, to share their best practices with others. Secondly, we also, of course, have to recognize that we have some programs already in HACU that are very effective, especially those that are focused on moving a critical mass into STEM degrees. And we’re going to emphasize that even more going forward. And thirdly, that we, as an association, have the ability to influence federal agencies and others—and corporations to invest in the kinds of practices that you may be successful at. And I’ll give you a couple examples. We just got a planning grant from NSF, HACU did. And we are almost done with the planning for one year, because we want to submit a multiyear, multimillion grant to NSF with an emphasis on moving as high as possible, to the PhD. in fact, Latinos all the way from community college up to the research one institutions. And we are working on that proposal to be submitted early next year. But we could, I’m sure, learn from what you’re doing. And so we could influence agencies to also invest more. We have a new program under NSF for HSIs that you can apply for a grant to expand what you’re doing with more students, more parents. And the same thing is true with respect to other agencies. I was just in Washington last week and met with the undersecretary of the Department of Commerce to discuss the technology program, where our institutions will each have a role to play. And so we have the role of advocating and influencing agencies and Congress to invest in institutions like yours, Miami Dade, and professors like you, so that you can do more of exactly what you are doing. So please feel free to send us an email at HACU. You can send it to my attention. And I’ll make sure that it finds its way to the right staff in charge of the kinds of programs that you are dealing with. We do have great staff that follows up on situations like yours. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. We will circulate after this an email with some of the resources you’ve mentioned and the email that we should be sharing, Dr. Flores. So we have another question, and it follows onto Mike’s question, from Arturo Osorio, who’s an associate professor at Rutgers University. Any advice or programs that you know to help connect the parents of the Hispanic Latino Students to the higher education experience? Many of our students are first-generation Americans and also first-generation college students. This creates a large cultural and experiential gap for parents to bridge on their understanding of what kids are going through and support them. As a result, many of the students have very stressful moments as they navigate away from the family to their college life. FLORES: Yeah. Excellent question. And my suggestion is that please send us an email. We have an office in HACU that is designated to promote pre-K-12 and higher education collaboration. The executive director of that office is Jeanette Morales. Jeanette Morales has a team, and they work with clusters or consortia of colleges, universities and K-12 schools, particularly secondary schools, to move out successfully many more of those underserved students to college and be better prepared to succeed in college. It is more substantive than just a college visitation thing or admissions officers talking with them at an event. They actually have early college interventions for high school students. So they actually earn even college credit when they are creating high school for the most advanced students. But they also have opportunity for professors from some of those universities and community college to teach as visiting teachers in those high schools, where they may not get the resources to hire faculty for advanced courses and for the courses that are required to be successful in especially STEM degrees, like advanced math, advanced science, and so forth. So that office and our association has been in place for the last seventeen years. It was that far back when we first saw that more than half of the battle to succeed in college has to be won in K-12. And it has to be won with families on your side, because first-generation college students do depend largely on families to make decision after high school. So please feel free to contact Jeanette Morales or myself in my email at our San Antonio headquarters. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. We are at the end of our time. I just wanted to ask if you could just do really briefly what you’re doing internationally to encourage—you know, and we don’t have a lot of time. But I don’t want to leave without—you had told me in our pre-call just a little bit. So if I you could just give us a wrap-up on that, that would be fantastic. FLORES: Yeah. We think of international education not as an appendage, not as a luxury, not as an add-on proposition, but as an integral part of a college education, in this case. And we hope that the vast majority of our young people will have a chance to experience a study abroad. And of course, it’s like a big dream, because right now if you look at the numbers, only about 5 to 7 percent, max, of all the 350,000 American students going to study abroad are Latino. And the same number, roughly the same percentage, is African Americans and others. And conversely, only about maybe 3 percent of all the students coming from other countries come from Latin America—1.3 percent only from Mexico, which is right next door to us, OK? So that has to change. And it has to change because people who have an international experience ultimately expand their horizons and their vision of the world and are more effective not only professionals but citizens of the world. And we feel that it is very important for our young people to do that, not as a—as a kind of a luxury, or anything like that, but as an integral part of their development as professionals. And so we plan on being even more keen on affecting legislation that will provide more resources for our institutions and international programming, and ourselves as an association being much more engaged in getting more international institutions to affiliate with us to promote that mobility, that experience, independent of whether the government decides to invest or not. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you very much. Antonio Flores, this has been really a great discussion. And thanks to everybody for their terrific questions and comments. We really appreciate it. HACU is lucky to have you. We’re fortunate to have you leading this great association. As I mentioned, we will send out a link to this webinar, also some of the resources you mentioned, email addresses and the like. And I’m sure everybody knows it, but it’s worth repeating, the HACU website, HACU.net. You can follow them on Twitter at @HACUnews. So go there. You can also follow us at @CFR_Academic. And please go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for CFR’s resources on international affairs and the like. So I hope you’re all staying well. Dr. Flores, thank you again. And we look forward to your continuing involvement in this webinar series. The next invitation will be for December, and we will be sending that out under separate cover. FLORES: Thank you very much, Irina. Thank you, everyone. (END)
  • Education
    Academic Webinar: The Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations
    Play
    Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, associate professor in George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and global fellow in the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program, leads a conversation on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations.   CASA: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. 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 available on our website, CFR.org/academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera with us to discuss the future of U.S.-Mexico relations. Dr. Correa-Cabrera is associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and global fellow in the Latin America Program at the Wilson Center. She also serves as nonresident scholar at the Center for the United States and Mexico in Rice University’s Baker Institute, is a fellow at Small Wars Journal-El Centro, and is co-editor of the International Studies Perspectives Journal. Previously Dr. Correa-Cabrera was principal investigator of a research grant to study organized crime and trafficking in persons in Central America and Mexico, supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. She is past president of the Association for Borderland Studies and the author of several books. Welcome, Guadalupe. CORREA-CABRERA: Thank you, Maria. CASA: Thank you very much for speaking with us today. CORREA-CABRERA: Thank you, Maria. Thank you very much to everyone, especially the Council on Foreign Relations, for the opportunity to talk to you about the relationships of my two countries, the United States and Mexico. So today, I’m going to start by explaining what is the current state of Mexico-U.S. relations, but in the context of a very important event that took place some days ago, in the context of the U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities. The bicentennial—so-called Bicentennial Understanding. There was a concern at the beginning of the current administration in the United States that the relationships between the United States and Mexico were going to be difficult. Notwithstanding the last, the current year has been extremely productive in many areas. And with this new understanding, the Bicentennial Understanding, that it states in the Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities, the United States and Mexico’s relation has been reframed in a very important way. There is an understanding that the Mérida initiative that had been the center of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, focused on security, needed to be reframed. And then, you know, that was—that was considered that the priorities remained the same, the priorities of the two countries, with some changes that I’m going to be talking about. But the three—I mean, the high-level understanding, this high-level meeting told us what’s supposed to be—I mean, where we’re going to see in the future. So I just wanted to point out some of the points that were discussed. This framework was informed by each country’s security priorities, that I’m going to be talking about. And the focus is addressing violence, but through a response that’s driven by justice and use of intelligence against organized crime, and based on tactical cooperation in law enforcement, based on the previous mistakes that had been identified. But currently, the focus would be on public health and development as a part of the strategy of cooperation between the two countries. I’m taking some words from the—from the communique of this understanding. And, you know, with the consideration of—for a more secure and prosperous region, the Mexico-U.S. Bicentennial Framework serves to reaffirm the friendship and cooperation that exists between the two nations. You know, as you see, the language is very friendly. It’s based on an understanding that the relationship is important, cooperation is important. Apparently the two countries are in the same boat in this regard. The United States recognizes that support of militarization is not the way probably to go. And a greater focus on public health and development to address the root causes of violence in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Mexico, is probably the way to go, with an understanding to promote a more secure and prosperous region. There are four themes—I mean, this is the idea. This was—I mean, that was the conversation that’s on the table. We don’t necessarily know ourselves today how this is going to be implemented, what are the particular policies that—or, the collaboration, or the amounts of money to make this happen. But this is kind of like the idea of the future of this collaboration. However, I am going to be talking about the opportunities, and particularly the challenges, considering the priorities of the two nations that, in a way, and when we have the meetings of this type, and when we listen to the language and read the media and talk to the politicians that were present, we have a sense. But then when everybody goes home, we kind of, like, think about this better and we see opportunities, but more challenges than we initially thought. So there are four main things in the United States-Mexico relations that need to be highlighted, plus one that has been also always important but today is more important due to the pandemic. Which is the theme of public health, where an important collaboration between Mexico and the United States has been observed but at the same time poses certain challenges with regard to the border management. Title 42 is still in place and the borders are going to be opened gradually, considering, you know, the vaccination status of people. But that has had a major impact on border communities, and certain impacts on trade and development, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border. The other four main themes of U.S. Mexico relations that I want to talk about are immigration, security, trade, and energy. I mean, I don’t want to place them in order of priority. I think that energy is going to define the future of Mexico-U.S. relations, but I’m going to mention the four in the context of the present—I mean, the present situation. So with regards to trade, the successful passage and, you know, implementation of renegotiation of NAFTA, today in the shape of USMCA, has been extremely successful. Poses some challenges, of course. And this is going to be connected with the last subject we’ll be talking about, the proposal of the Mexican government to reform the electricity sector. This is something that is going to be very, very important, and what are the priorities of the United States in the framework of build back better? But with regards to trade, apparently their relationships could not be, you know, better than today. There are some challenges, of course, that have to be with labor rights and unions in Mexico that would cause some loss of competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. And in the framework build back better, of course, this is going to benefit the United States and it’s going probably to affect the manufacturing sector of Mexico. Let’s see how it works. But with regards to trade, things are mainly, you know, stable, with exception of the future. And this is going to be very, very important. The potential passage, we don’t really know, it’s very difficult that the electricity reform in Mexico will pass. But anyway, the president—the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has a very important amount of—I mean, segment of the population, and a very important support from his base that might help him to achieve his goal. I see it very differently, but we’ll talk about that. So the next area that I would like to talk about is immigration. Here we have enormous challenges, enormous challenges that have been visualized with, you know, the current situations at the border that started since the beginning of this administration. During the past years, I mean, they had started to be increasing in magnitude, or at least in visibility. As I mentioned, Title 42 is maintained, and the migration protection protocol—Migrant Protection Protocols, so Stay in Mexico program, where a number of asylum seekers would have to wait for their cases to be decided in Mexico, there’s a new definition in this framework. The Supreme Court of the United States very recently made a decision with regards to the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols. In the beginning the Department of Homeland Security, you know, made the declaration that they would—they would continue with that, but very recently they intention is not to continue with the Migrant Protection Protocols. In the end, and this is why this is very important in the very current conversation, in the end the continuation of this—of this program that has been highly criticized. Then it’s also—it has put the human rights of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers at risk. That might—this will not work if Mexico—if the government of Mexico does not accept it. We have to see what is going to be the result. But we have a definition in this regard. The role of Mexico is key in the management of the U.S.-Mexico border, in the management of what some call migrant crisis, and then a crisis at the border. We observed that crisis very recently with a number of Haitian citizens that all left their country, went to South America, and from South America—from countries such as Ecuador, Brazil, Chile—traveled north through different countries, finding different challenges and dangers, and arrived to one point of the U.S.-Mexico border, with the help of a number of actors, such as migrant smugglers and corrupt authorities, but with the aim of making—I mean, escaping a terrible life and making a better life in the United States. We have a caravan that’s now in direction to Mexico City. They were going go—they will put their demands on the table, but their intent is to continue going to the United States. There is a very big definition with regards to the migrant crisis, or what some call the migrant crisis, and the immigration issues that the government of the United States has recognized very accurately, and the Mexican government too, that there need to be collaboration to address the root causes of the situation that has to do with the development of the countries of Central America, of South America. And, you know, to achieve stability in South America, probably not through militarization. Secretary Blinken in a very surprising statement has led us to believe that today the United States is also reframing its aid to Latin America, to Central America and the Caribbean. And the focus is not going to be in aid in military equipment or in the militarization of the region. This is very important. And this brings me to talk about the third important—the third theme in the U.S.-Mexico relations. Mexico’s security—the relationship of Mexico and the United States in the past few years has been focused on this connection between security and immigration. That’s in the end centered on a specific attention of border enforcement, of border security cooperation. The situation in Mexico has deteriorated in the past few years, and the situation has not improved in an important way. Mexico’s homicides remained at high levels, despite the pandemic. During the pandemic the decrease was very small, but today and we expect that this year the homicide rate continues growing in a trend that does not seem to be going down. The approach of the Mexican government since the transition period was—I mean, I can be summarized in the phrase talks not bullets. Which means, like, a completely—I mean, a complete shift of the declaration of Mexico’s war on drugs to some other, like, approaches that will focus as well to solve the root causes of violence insecurity in Mexico, mainly development frameworks. However, the prior militarization of criminal groups in different parts of the country, and the events—the shootings and the diversification of criminal activities by armed groups in the country—has also caused a very complicated situation. The count of homicides in Mexico shows that killings remain essentially unchanged, more than 36,000 homicides in the year 2020. As I mentioned before, this year we expect an important increase. I don’t know what will be the magnitude, but we have observed since the beginning of the year very unfortunate events. For example, at the U.S.-Mexico border, in the city of Reynosa, the massacre of migrants, and also assassinations and disappearances in a very key highway of Mexico from Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey. We still remember the Culiacanazo in the year 2019, which was a very complicated year. And today the situation in states like Michoacán, Guerrero, and Sinaloa, the massacres that be found, and people who disappear—or, that remain disappeared, is a very big concern, both to Mexico and the United States. There is not really an understanding of how this collaboration with regards to security will be framed. However, there was a very big advancement in the Bicentennial Understanding initial talks that the Mérida Initiative, at least on paper, supposed to be ending. But there’s going to be a focus on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, probably in a different way and not with a focus on the military sector or on armed forces. At least, this is what we have on the paper. Mexico has been very straightforward with regards—and very critical with regards to the role of the DEA. And that has caused several tensions in this relationship. We also have the issue of security and the—I mean, the priorities of the United States with regards to build back better proposal or reform. And then we have, as I said, the reform of the electric sector in the Mexico state, who want to recover the control of the management of electricity, of the electricity market, and the capacity of the state to manage the lithium. So Mexico has—and the Mexican government has three main projects: the construction of the refinery in—the Dos Bocas in Tabasco, the Santa Lucia airport, and the Maya Train. There is a tension between Mexico and the United States with regards to priorities. Mexico has a priority to continue with the support of oil and gas. This is—this is reflected in the construction of the refinery. And here, we’re probably going to see the main point of tension. Because of build back better and the commitment with build back better, and also focus on U.S. internal markets where Mexico has been benefitting from the growth of its manufacturing sector. We don’t really know how this is going to be playing out, but at least, you know, on paper things are going to be good. But definitely the priorities with regards to energy are very different, and the focus of the U.S.-Mexico government on the lessening of climate change. And this focus is going to be very different—very difficult. The United States is committed to meet its climate goals, create millions of jobs inside the United States. And that has really changed their relationship. So we can talk more about these. Thank you for listening to this. And as I said, we’ll probably be talking a lot about energy and the inequalities that public health and vaccination rates, that will also cause tensions. And immigration is another point that we need to talk about in greater depth. Thank you. CASA: Thank you, Guadalupe, for that introduction. There certainly is a lot to talk about. Now let’s open this up to questions from our participants. (Gives queuing instructions.) Let’s see. We will start with a written question from Paul Haber, who’s a professor at University of Montana. He asks: Can you please provide some detail regarding the changes in labor required in Mexico by the USMCA? And what has happened to date? And do you expect a real deepening of the reforms between now and the end of the AMLO administration? CORREA-CABRERA: This is a very important question. With regard to the USMCA, mainly the main point that might cause tensions have to do—has to do with labor unions, particularly in the maquiladora sector, in manufacturing sector. The United States has been very clear with regards to that requirement, but that would, at the same time, lower the competitiveness of Mexico’s manufacturing sector. As I said, there have been, I mean, in the past couple of years an attempt to create independent labor unions in the maquiladora sector, but there are still extreme tensions. And there have not been a real advance in this—in this sense. But at the same time, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with his theme of primero los pobres, the poor first, and a support of Mexican labor, an increase—a very important increase since the beginning of his administration of wages, he is supposedly committed to help Mexican workers and to—and he has been focused as well on supporting not only the labor unions or the labor sector, but with his social programs that have been, I mean, advertised a great extent. Such as Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, the Youth Constructing Future, which is a very important, for him, but also very criticized program. And the support of mothers without—I mean, single mothers. And, I mean Youth Constructing Future for those who don’t have jobs. So on the one hand Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also in order to continue building his base of support or maintaining his base of support, focused—has focused on these programs, these social programs, that are not necessarily just focused on labor, as the way that the United States wants this to be seen in order to also rebuild the economy by changing the focus to internal development. I don’t see in that regard if what—if your interest comes from the United States, what has happened with the union is—with the labor unions and their capacity to really, I mean, grow in the Mexican manufacturing sector—I don’t see—I don’t see a lot of advancement in that area. And definitely in this regard, there are very different priorities in Mexico versus the United States. But Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been able to convince a number of his supporters, a number of Mexican workers, because he has increased in a very important way Mexican wages. And he is probably going to be able to achieve more increases when the elections—the presidential elections approach. But definitely we don’t see very definite changes with regards to this area as the USMCA has been posed. CASA: Next we have a raised hand from Sherice Nelson, assistant professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Sherice. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you so much for your talk. And I appreciate you leaving time for us to ask questions. As a professor, how do—the biggest challenge often is to get students to back away from some of the stereotypical information they get about U.S.-Mexico and the relationship, and the centering of that—of that relationship on immigration, when there’s far—as you mentioned—there are far other issues that define our relationship. Where are places that we can lead students to, to get better information that is not as stereotypical about the relationship, that will pique their interest? Thanks so much. CORREA-CABRERA: That’s a very important question. Thank you for asking. And absolutely, there is a way to present the issue on immigration, to place it in a political perspective—either from the right side or the left. The problem with immigration and the quality development and the access for jobs—I mean, it has been studied in depth by Mexican academics, United States academics. Issues have more to do with development and with the jobs that are offered in the United States, the pull and push factors of undocumented immigration, for example. And we have very different areas to be thinking about migration or immigration. And the focus recently has been at the border, has been with regards to asylum seekers, has been politicized in the United States, while many other areas have been, to some extent, ignored. There are—for educators, there are a number of analyses. One particular area that’s important to know, it’s United States—I mean, immigrants—how immigrants in the United States, coming from different countries, have been able to develop, have been able to make this country great. That’s one area that we have to focus on. And there is a lot of information in that regard. Another, I mean, issue that it’s important to know are the pull and push factors of undocumented immigration. And one important factor that usually we’re not focused on are the jobs that exist in the United States, and the perspective from—I mean, the undocumented immigration from the perspective of employers. And that is connected to this analysis of the role of immigrants in the United States. Where are they coming from? What are they doing? How they came here, and not just of those who want to come. Another issue that has been widely covered is the one that has to do with migration. Migration flows that start in countries such as Chile, that dangerous journey where that media has been focused on, without analyzing this as a whole, without analyzing this understand that there are jobs in the United States, there is a comprehensive immigration reform that’s on the table, and that that comprehensive immigration reform will definitely help to solve the problems of a system that needs the, I mean, immigrants to continue working, but it’s creating all sorts of problem. The disfunctions of U.S. immigration system have been identified. There is a proposal that’s bipartisan to solve these issues with temporary visas, pathway towards citizenship for those that are already here, that already have jobs, that already contribute to this economy. But unfortunately, immigration is definitely, as you correctly mention, a subject that has been utilized, that has been polarized, because it touches very important sentiments of the electorate. And we don’t understand it. Definitely the immigration system in the United States needs to change. And there are—there is a very important amount of articles, of studies that analyze not just those who want to come or the so-called migrant crisis at the border, but how the market in the United States works, the labor markets, what undocumented migrants do in the United States, how to solve these issues with these bipartisan efforts that have been put together in documents, such as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and also those that want to work. And many of these problems would probably be solved through the mechanisms that think tanks, and analysts, and academics have done. Important work by think tanks like the Migration—MPI, the Migration Policy Institute, or the—I mean, other initiatives in Mexico. There have been a lot of—there’s a lot of information about the possible policies to solve these issues. It’s important to consider that information is there, that the work is done, but the problem is the coverage. And definitely our students need to go to understand the suggested—the suggested solutions, creating legal pathways to migration, to temporary work in the United States, is probably the way to go. But unfortunately, we got into these politicized moments, and these electoral moments, and the discourse gets politicized. But there is a lot there, a lot of analysis, a lot of proposals that you can find. Amazing work, both in the United States, in Mexico, and in many other countries of the Americas, because right now the issue of undocumented immigration, irregular immigration does not only have to do with Mexico and the United States. Immigrants have to pass through Mexico in order to get to where they want to go in order to go where the works are located. But we know and we have seen that a number of people, for example, that what was called the Haitian crisis at the border, like, the journey was done from countries as far as Chile, and so many countries have to deal with that. For example, the situation in Venezuela—many migrants that have been—I mean, finding jobs and a home in Colombia temporarily are also going—also moving up and are going to the border. So there’s a lot there, and our students, you know, can find a lot of information. It’s just to get out of the media discourses that are presented and that do not allow us to see the reality. But there is a lot out there that we can access, particularly for our students. CASA: Our next question is a written question and comes from Pedro Izquierdo, a graduate student at George Mason University. He asks, what improvements and flaws do you see in the bicentennial framework regarding arms trafficking, unlike the Mérida Initiative? CORREA-CABRERA: Well, it’s—the Bicentennial Understanding is not—at this point it’s just a number of good wishes and the recognition of certain problems. Arms trafficking has been recognized in this Bicentennial Understanding. As of today, we don’t really know what the United States is going to be able to do with regards to arms trafficking, and there is a very important and complicated situation here because in the United States it’s not by decree, it’s not by—I mean, the arms possession and the way that United States citizens understand their rights with regards to bearing arms. It’s a constitutional right; therefore—and there’s a lot of—you know, there’s a very, very big business that will not end so easily. Therefore, the two countries might, you know, might agree on—I mean verifying or collaborating to end or to lessen the issue of arms smuggling. However, this is going to be very difficult unless something important happens in the United States with regards to the legislation to place some limits on the bearing of arms. This is very important. As of today, Pedro, there is not a concrete plan of how the two countries are going to collaborate in this regard. As we know, the minister of foreign affairs—I mean the Mexican government through the minister of foreign affairs, I mean, has a lawsuit against United States arms manufacturers with regards to the arms that come to Mexico and end up in the hands of drug traffickers. There is nothing else that it’s current today where we will know what the two countries are going to be doing. And this is the same with many of the good wishes, many of the areas of the collaboration, the end of the Mérida Initiative and the beginning of this understanding. We really don’t know what specific programs are going to be implemented and how these programs are going to be implemented, how much money is going to be directed to these programs at this time. We just have an understanding of how the priorities can get together to improve and to reframe, to some extent, the collaboration in terms of security and development. CASA: Next we are going to a raised hand; we have Terron Adlam, an undergraduate student at Delaware State University. Please go ahead, Terron. Q: Can you hear me now? CASA: Yes. Q: Hi. Yes. So I’m thinking about more the energy sector of this talk. So in Mexico I know there’s a lot of geothermal activity, so isn’t there a more effective way of, like—because global warming is increasing more and more as time goes on, like, the flooding, the overheating of the ozone, stuff like—couldn’t geothermal usage be more effective in Mexico and solar too, versus the oil refineries? CORREA-CABRERA: This is a very important question. The understanding of climate change in the United States is very different from Mexico. In the developed world, the concern about the environment has been focused—I mean, this has now been the center of the discussion and the center of the development programs and projects. In the developing nations, there are more immediate needs to be covered. With regards specifically to Mexico, there is not—climate change is not in the center of the discourse and the priorities of the Mexican government. Mexico has oil and gas and the current Mexican president—I mean, notwithstanding the analysis of other actors. What the Mexican government has had as a priority since the beginning of the administration has more to do with the development from the state, more centralization of the state, a greater role of the state in the sector of oil and gas. The climate change priority comes from the United States. Today, you know, the diplomatic efforts are going to be done to make Mexico to turn into the renewable sector, but at this point, it is not the priority of the Mexican government, neither the priority of a majority of the Mexican people, because in the developing world, climate change is important but it’s more important sometimes in certain parts of Mexico, such as Guerrero, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas, and it’s particularly the poorest regions of Mexico—Oaxaca or Chiapas—where there are several problems and, you know, immediate needs of people are not covered. And I’m talking about food. I’m talking about security very particularly. These pictures of children with arms in Guerrero and Michoacán tell us what the emergency situation is for a number of people, and the Mexican president has been able to create a discourse around these needs, around the needs for poor people, around the needs of those who can listen to that better, and he has a priority today—I mean, he sent a proposal to achieve an electric reform; well, the state is going to have more involvement and also a focus on electricity with the technologies that the Mexican state has been managed, which is not connected to solar or wind or the mindset that the United States has had in the past few years. So the priorities are very different and the studies are not directed there. The Department of Energy of the United States, through one of the laboratories of renewable energies, conducted a—I mean conducted a study and released the results of this report talking about the—according to the report—the negative effects in terms of emissions of carbon by Mexico and the increase in the cost of producing electricity. The Mexican government—the president alleged that that study was not based in reality. And you can see, then, what Mexico wants. And, you know, currently, Mexico has actively participated in the COP26 and it’s been involved in the conversation, but definitely we don’t know how much money or how this—(inaudible)—is going to be made. This is a very important question because I wasn’t able to go in depth with this. This is probably going to be the main point of tensions between the two countries in the future—definitely for Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Andrés Manuel López Obrador was a very big critic of the recent energy reform of 2013, 2014, the energy reform that allowed private capital to get into the oil sector. He was a pretty big critic. There have been a number of events that link corrupt Mexican governments with the concessions in the oil sector, oil and gas sector, so this is probably going to be—continue to be discussed. And if the president has the capacity of passing the reform—that I see it very difficult because of the numbers that he needs—the situation is going to become more tense, because his vision is nationalistic and it’s not—and nationalism—Mexican nationalism of today is not looking at climate change as its main priority. And you can see the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador are really not discussing climate change. Mexican elites are discussing climate change and, of course, the opposition against Andrés Manuel López Obrador against the government of the Fourth Transformation, but they have an important majority—they don’t have a majority, sorry, the opposition. The important majority is within the government of the Fourth Transformation, and their support for electric reform is important. I don’t know how this is going to play out in the end, but in the United States and in Mexico, climate change is perceived in a very different way. That has to be understood very clearly because we don’t see the media, we don’t see how in the schools and how in Mexico overall the issue is well-ingrained into the society, because, of course, the society, the Mexican society, particularly the most vulnerable ones in the country, the very important number of poor people in the country has other priorities that have to do with food insecurity—have to do with food insecurity. CASA: Thank you. Our next question is a written question; it’s from Yuri Mantilla, professor of law at Liberty University, and he writes, can you please analyze the influence of political ideologies in Mexico and the U.S. that are shaping both international relations between the two countries and perceptions of the Mexican and American people regarding the current political contexts under the Biden administration in the U.S. and the López Obrador leadership in Mexico? CORREA-CABRERA: That’s an amazing question, but that is a very difficult question to answer very quickly. OK, let me try to do it. It’s a very big challenge. This is a very challenging question. As I mentioned with regards to climate change, the ideologies in Mexico and the United States, what is right and what is left in the two countries is quite—it’s, to some extent, different in the United States, the left and right. And today, because we have a president that ran on a left-wing platform and he was recognized as a left-wing president and also a very big critic of so-called neoliberal reforms and the neoliberal system that were represented by the previous administrations and that by the administrations that achieved democratization in Mexico. I’m talking about the National Action Party and all the parties that supported those reforms, the democratization in the country. And because of that, today, the ideology has transformed, to some extent; it’s not about—I mean, support for the Washington consensus as it was in the previous decades versus—which was represented in the government—versus another project that direct—the relationship more with the people. Now that mindset, that discourse, sometimes propagandistic in certain ways, is in the government. So the government presents itself as a left-wing government. Nationalism and a conception of first the poor—the poor first, very big criticism, in discourse only, about neoliberalism, without, you know, a real perspective what neoliberalism is because of the support that the current Mexican government has provided to USMCA, which is one of the foundation parts of what is perceived as neoliberalism, which is mainly liberalism in—not in the perspective of the United States overall—free markets, the importance of free markets in the economy. It’s a very challenging question because in the United States and Mexico there are important concepts that mean different things for people. Liberalism or neoliberalism for Mexicans mean support of markets and a support of the right, while in the United States, when we talk about liberalism, we think about progressive thinking; we think about equality but in a different way. In Mexico the center is equality in the economic regard, and the president today, the government, you know, is governing with the flag of equality, is governing with the flag of the left. And the so-called left is with the Mexican—or allegedly voted for the current Mexican president, but now some of them are debating themselves in different areas. So it’s not as easy to place the right and the left as it is more in the United States; even in the United States there are many issues with regards to position yourself in right and left. We have the progressive part of the electorate in the United States versus a more moderate left, and, as you all know, the Republican Party or the conservative segment of the U.S. population that’s more connected with Republican candidates, it’s kind of like a very different conception in Mexico. The right wing in Mexico in many ways support, for example, the Democratic Party in the United States. What is conceived as the opposition to Andrés Manuel López Obrador even are very critical of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s relationship with feminism or the feminist movement. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is not supporting the feminist movement because Andrés Manuel López Obrador alleges the feminist movement has been supported by other countries and the opposition. So for the alleged left that is represented by the government, feminism is not a part of their agenda, while in the United States the LGBTQIA movement, the feminist movement, support for climate change, those important values are part of the progressive movement of the left. I mean, in Mexico, and I explain this is why this is very, very important and a very challenging question to answer—I mean, just very quickly—is that, for example, climate change is not in the agenda and climate change is in the—it has been taken by the opposition to the Mexican government. Many representatives of the opposition are criticizing the current Mexican government but not focusing on not going and continuing with the desire of constructing the Dos Bocas refinery and going with oil and gas and focusing on electricity as in the previous times of the PRI. So a number of the Mexican elite that is in opposition—I mean that’s considered the opposition are supporting climate change. Why—not supporting climate change but are supporting, like, you know, the development of renewable energies and have as an objective climate change but mainly to criticize what the Mexican government is doing. So in that regard, we see a very big polarization between the ones that supported previous administrations versus this current government that connects with the left, while in the United States we see what is the ideological spectrum. A number of those who represent, as I said, the opposition are connected with the current administration objectives. For example, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa presents very frequently his photographs with members of the Democratic Party, the current president, Joe Biden, and he’s very critical of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, so there’s a confusion that we can have based on our own ideologies that’s not very easy to understand in very quick explanation. But I hope that I was, to some extent, clear in this regard. CASA: Next we’re going to a raised hand. Ellen Chesler, who’s senior fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Ellen? Q: I actually had put my question in the chat, I thought, but I’ll ask it. Thank you so much for this interesting overview. I wanted to—I’m a historian by training and was going to ask you to historically frame some of your introductory remarks in a little bit more depth. First, of great interest to me, your comments about the importance of public health, specifically reproductive health policy. Have United States policies and support of Mexico in the last, you know, twenty-five years or so, in your view, been positive for the country, and what are the challenges that remain? And in a way linked to that, from your introductory comments, a question about labor: You mentioned, of course, that NAFTA, in your view, was successful, certainly from Mexico’s standpoint, but has remaining challenges, largely relating to labor organization and the raising of wages in Mexico to equalize the situation between the two countries. Can you comment on what prospects there are for that happening today in Mexico? CORREA-CABRERA: Very interesting questions. With regards to reproductive health, this also has to do with the ideology. The left in Mexico, which is now represented, in a way, by the current Mexican government, the current Mexican government has adamantly—since Andrés Manuel López Obrador was head of the government of Mexico City there have been, you know, an advancement with regards to reproductive rights, reproductive health, and that is not under question of the current administration, which is very interesting because in the United States the—I mean, there’s a different type of tension. And in other countries of the hemisphere too, we can see—you know, because we’re Catholic countries we can see that area as very complex and a lot of opposition with regards to that. In Mexico, there needs to be an opposition because of the mentality, because of the culture, but there has been an advancement in the courts, and recently there was a decision in one state of Mexico that decriminalized—and it’s very interesting how the Mexican government has been able to build a different discourse that has allowed the current government to advance in that direction. Decriminalization of abortion is a way that this has advanced. So I believe that possibly—I dare to say that possibly in the Americas, Mexico is one of the most progressive governments with regards to this subject, reproductive health and reproductive rights. It is very interesting—there must be a number of studies coming from this decision of the courts of one state of Mexico that’s going to be defining the future of reproductive rights in the country. With regards to the second question about NAFTA, labor rights, there is an understanding in the United States that NAFTA has been good, particularly for Mexico. In the technocracy sector, particularly those that, you know, contributed to renegotiate NAFTA—I mean, the Mexican elites recognize the gains of Mexico in the framework of NAFTA, particularly if we focus on the manufacturing sector. The jobs that we’re creating in maquiladoras, the jobs that were created due to NAFTA, were not enough to achieve or to allow Mexico to grow at rates that were acceptable. During the time of NAFTA, Mexico has grown at the same—almost at the same level of demographic rates of population rates. So overall, a number of jobs were lost in the beginning, the first years of NAFTA. Many of these people needed to move to the United States. So the effects of NAFTA in Mexico have been very extremely, extremely unequal. But what you will read probably in the reports that have been produced by Mexican academics, Mexican analysts and think tanks and in the think tanks of the United States is that NAFTA has been overall very good for Mexico. It has not been bad for Mexico. It has allowed the country to have access to a number of products but, at the same time, has affected some other sectors that could be considered of national security. And I’m thinking about the production of grain in the agricultural sector in particular. But with regards to labor rights—and this is why the question is very important, and I’m not sure that I answered it correctly. The United States has different priorities and has had different priorities that were manifested in the growth of dissatisfaction among an important segment of the U.S. population that has not been able to—I mean, become part of the development in the United States. That gave place to the Make America Great Again movement where the intention or the importance that a number of people in the United States, both in the left or in the right—the idea of a Green New Deal that it’s right now in the form of the Build Back Better framework has this idea in mind, to generate jobs inside the United States, because globalization or very aggressive globalization after the end of the Cold War really put a number of people in the United States in a complicated situation because the jobs were performed outside the borders of the United States. So today, this is why it is important to understand what USMCA is about with regards to labor. There is an important pressure from the United States, in particular, to Mexico to increase or—the conditions of the workers in the manufacturing sector overall because there is an important focus on wages. But if wages are—increase more than what the president already increased, you know, into this framework and labor unions make more complicated the entrance of foreign capital and the foreign capital goes back to the United States, will Mexico lose its competitiveness? And the losses will be for Mexico. So there is a tension there and definitely this tension has not been solved. The wages in Mexico have been low but that has to do with the labor supply and with the conditions of labor markets overall. And if there is a force to create the labor unions, this is probably not going to be in the—I mean it’s not going to benefit Mexican workers because the businesses are probably not going to generate those jobs and will probably relocate. That’s a conversation that has been going on and we have not solved. And we have not seen an improvement overall in the conditions or the wages of workers, more than the one that Andrés Manuel López Obrador by decree—has been given to the workers by increasing in double, particularly at the border wages in the manufacturing sector. But in the framework of USMCA, we haven’t yet seen the results and we have not yet seen also the pressure if Mexico has not because the unions have not been created and there are many tensions in that sector. There was an attempt to start with the first labor union in the maquiladora sector by—I mean today a person who is right now in Congress, Susana Prieto Terrazas—she ended up in jail in the state of Tamaulipas, so this is a very complicated subject that we haven’t been able to solve. CASA: I’m afraid we have to close now. We’re not able to get to all the questions, but we will give you the contacts for the professor and you can reach out to her directly, if you would like to continue the conversation. Guadalupe, thank you very much for being with us today, and to all of you for your great questions and comments. You can follow Guadalupe on Twitter @GCorreaCabrera. Our next Academic Webinar will take place on Wednesday, November 17, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center of Global Energy Policy and professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University, will lead a conversation on energy policy and efforts to combat climate change. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. Thank you again for joining us today. We look forward to tuning in on November 17. (END)
  • Middle East and North Africa
    Academic Webinar: Geopolitics in the Middle East
    Play
    Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at CFR, leads a conversation on geopolitics in the Middle East.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic, if you want to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. Today’s topic is geopolitics in the Middle East. Our speaker was supposed to be Sanam Vakil, but she had a family emergency. So we’re delighted to have our very own Steven Cook here to discuss this important topic. Dr. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies, and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of several books, including False Dawn; The Struggle for Egypt, which won the 2012 Gold Medal from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Ruling But Not Governing. And he’s working on yet another book entitled The End of Ambition: America’s Past, Present, and Future in the Middle East. So keep an eye out for that in the next year or so. He’s a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and contributor and commentator on a bunch of other outlets. Prior to coming to CFR, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. So, Dr. Cook, thank you for being with us. I thought you could just—I’m going to give you a soft question here, to talk about the geopolitical relations among state and nonstate actors in the Middle East. And you can take that in whatever direction you would like. COOK: Well, thanks so much, Irina. It’s a great pleasure to be with you. Good afternoon to everybody who’s out there who’s on an afternoon time zone, good morning to those who may still be in the evening, and good evening to those who may be somewhere where it’s the evening. It’s very nice to be with you. As Irina mentioned, and as I’m sure it’s plenty evident, I am not Sanam Vakil, but I’m happy to step in for her and offer my thoughts on the geopolitics of the Middle East. It’s a small topic. That question that Irina asked was something that I certainly could handle effectively in fifteen to twenty minutes. But before I get into the details of what’s going on in the region, I thought I would offer some just general comments about the United States in the Middle East. Because, as it turns out, I had the opportunity last night to join a very small group of analysts with a very senior U.S. government official to talk precisely about the United States in the Middle East. And it was a very, very interesting conversation, because despite the fact that there has been numerous news reporting and analytic pieces about how the United States is deemphasizing the Middle East, this official made it very, very clear that that was practically impossible at this time. And this was, I think, a reasonable position to take. There has been a lot recently, in the last recent years, about withdrawing from the region, from retrenchment from the region, reducing from the region, realignment from the region. All those things actually mean different things. But analysts have essentially used them to mean that the United States should deprioritize the Middle East. And it seems to me that the problem in the Middle East has not necessarily been the fact that we are there and that we have goals there. It’s that the goals in the region and the resources Washington uses to achieve those goals need to be realigned to address things that are actually important to the United States. In one sense that sound eminently reasonable. We have goals, we have resources to meet those goals, and we should devote them to—and if we can’t, we should reassess what our goals are or go out and find new resources. That sounds eminently reasonable. But that’s not the way Washington has worked over the course of the last few decades when it comes to the Middle East. In many ways, the United States has been overly ambitious. And it has led to a number of significant failures in the region. In an era when everything and anything is a vital interest, then nothing really is. And this seems to be the source of our trouble. For example, when we get into trying to fix the politics of other countries, we’re headed down the wrong road. And I don’t think that there’s been enough real debate in Washington or, quite frankly, in the country about what’s important in the Middle East, and why we’re there, and what we’re trying to achieve in the Middle East. In part, this new book that I’m writing called the End of Ambition, which, as Irina pointed out, will be out hopefully in either late 2022 or early 2023, tries to answer some of these questions. There is a way for the United States to be constructive in the Middle East, but what we’ve done over the course of the last twenty years has made that task much, much harder. And it leads us, in part, to this kind of geostrategic picture or puzzle that I’m about to lay out for you. So let me get into some of the details. And I’m obviously not going to take you from Morocco all the way to Iran, although I could if I had much, much more time because there’s a lot going on in a lot of places. But not all of those places are of critical importance to the United States. So I’ll start and I’ll pick and choose from that very, very large piece of geography. First point: There have been some efforts to deescalate in a region that was in the middle of or on the verge of multiple conflicts. There has been a dialogue between the Saudis and the Iranians, under the auspices of the Iraqis, of all people. According to the Saudis this hasn’t yielded very much, but they are continuing the conversation. One of the ways to assess the success or failure of a meeting is the fact that there’s going to be another meeting. And there are going to be other meetings between senior Iranian and Saudi officials. I think that that’s good. Egyptians and Turks are talking. Some of you who don’t follow these issues as closely may not remember that Turkey and Egypt came close to trading blows over Libya last summer. And they pulled back as a result of concerted diplomacy on the part of the European Union, as well as the Egyptian ability to actually surge a lot of force to its western border. Those two countries are also talking, in part under the auspices of the Iraqis. Emiratis and Iranians are talking. That channel opened up in 2019 after the Iranians attacked a very significant—two very significant oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, sort of scaring the Emiratis, especially since the Trump administration did not respond in ways that the Emiratis or the Saudis had been expecting. The Qataris and the Egyptians have repaired their relations. The Arab world, for better or for worse, is moving to reintegrate Syria into is ranks. Not long after King Abdullah of Jordan was in the United States, he and Bashar al-Assad shared a phone call to talk about the opening of the border between Jordan and Syria and to talk about, among other things, tourism to the two countries. The hope is that this de-escalation, or hope for de-escalation coming from this dialogue, will have a salutary effect on conflicts in Yemen, in Syria, in Libya, and Iraq. Thus far, it hasn’t in Yemen, in particular. It hasn’t in Syria. But in Libya and Iraq, there have been some improvements to the situation. All of this remains quite fragile. These talks can be—can break off at any time under any circumstances. Broader-scale violence can return to Libya at any time. And the Iraqi government still doesn’t control its own territory. Its sovereignty is compromised, not just by Iran but also by Turkey. But the fact that a region that was wound so tight and that seemed poised to even deepen existing conflicts and new ones to break out, for all of these different parties to be talking—some at the behest of the United States, some entirely of their own volition—is, I think, a relatively positive sign. You can’t find anyone who’s more—let’s put it this way, who’s darker about developments in the Middle East than me. And I see some positive signs coming from this dialogue. Iran, the second big issue on the agenda. Just a few hours ago, the Iranians indicated that they’re ready to return to the negotiating table in Vienna. This is sort of a typical Iranian negotiating tactic, to push issues to the brink and then to pull back and demonstrate some pragmatism so that people will thank for them for their pragmatism. This agreement to go back to the negotiating table keeps them on decent terms with the Europeans. It builds on goodwill that they have developed as a result of their talks with Saudi Arabia. And it puts Israel somewhat on the defensive, or at least in an awkward position with the Biden administration, which has very much wanted to return to the negotiating table in Vienna. What comes out of these negotiations is extremely hard to predict. This is a new government in Iran. It is certainly a harder line than its predecessor. Some analysts believe that precisely because it is a hardline government it can do the negotiation. But we’ll just have to see. All the while this has been going on, the Iranians have been proceeding with their nuclear development, and Israel is continuing its shadow campaign against the Iranians in Syria, sometimes in Iraq, in Iran itself. Although, there’s no definitive proof, yesterday Iranian gas stations, of all things, were taken offline. There’s some suspicion that this was the Israelis showing the Iranians just how far and deep they are into Iranian computer systems. It remains unclear how the Iranians will retaliate. Previously they have directed their efforts to Israeli-linked shipping in and around the Gulf of Oman. Its conventional responses up until this point have been largely ineffective. The Israelis have been carrying on a fairly sophisticated air campaign against the Iranians in Syria, and the Iranians have not been able to mount any kind of effective response. Of course, this is all against the backdrop of the fact that the Iranians do have the ability to hold much of the Israeli population hostage via Hezbollah and its thousands of rockets and missiles. So you can see how this is quite worrying, and an ongoing concern for everybody in the region, as the Israelis and Iranians take part in this confrontation. Let me just continue along the line of the Israelis for a moment and talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict, something that has not been high on the agenda of the Biden administration, it hasn’t been high on the agenda of many countries in the region. But since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, there have been some significant developments. The normalization as a result of the Abraham Accords continues apace. Recently in the Emirates there was a meeting of ministers from Israel, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan. This is the first kind of face-to-face meeting of government officials from all of these countries. Now, certainly the Israelis and the Emiratis have been meeting quite regularly, and the Israelis and the Bahrainis have been meeting quite regularly. But these were broader meetings of Cabinet officials from all of the Abraham Accords countries coming together in the United Arab Emirates for talks. Rather extraordinary. Something that thirteen months—in August 2020 was unimaginable, and today is something that doesn’t really make—it doesn’t really make the headlines. The Saudis are actually supportive of the normalization process, but they’re not yet willing to take that step. And they’re not willing to take that step because of the Palestinian issue. And it remains a sticking point. On that issue, there was a lot of discussion after the formation of a new Israeli government last June under the leadership, first, of Naftali Bennett, who will then hand the prime ministership over to his partner, Yair Lapid, who are from different parties. That this was an Israeli government that could do some good when it comes to the Palestinian arena, that it was pragmatic, that it would do things that would improve the lives of Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, and seek greater cooperation with both the United States and the Palestinian authority toward that end. And that may in fact turn out to be the case. This government has taken a number of steps in that direction, including family reunification, so that if a Palestinian on the West Bank who is married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, the Palestinian in the West Bank can live with the family in Israel. And a number of other things. But it should also be clear to everybody that despite a kind of change in tone from the Israeli prime ministry, there’s not that much of a change in terms of policy. In fact, in many ways Prime Minister Bennett is to the right of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. And Yair Lapid, who comes from a centrist party, is really only centrist in terms of Israeli politics. He is—in any other circumstances would be a kind of right of center politician. And I’ll just point out that in recent days the Israeli government has declared six Palestinian NGOs—long-time NGOs—terrorist organizations, approved three thousand new housing units in the West Bank, and worked very, very hard to prevent the United States from opening a consulate in East Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians. That consulate had been there for many, many, many years. And it was closed under the Trump administration when the U.S. Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Biden administration would like to reopen that consulate. And the Israeli government is adamantly opposed. In the end, undoubtably Arab governments are coming to terms with Israel, even beyond the Abraham Accords countries. Egypt’s flag carrier, Egyptair, announced flights to Tel Aviv. This is the first time since 1979. You could—you could fly between Cairo and Tel Aviv, something that I’ve done many, many times. If you were in Egypt, you’d have to go and find an office that would sell you a ticket to something called Air Sinai, that did not have regular flights. Only had flights vaguely whenever, sometimes. It was an Egyptair plane, stripped of its livery, staffed by Egyptair pilots and staff, stripped of anything that said Egyptair. Now, suddenly Egyptair is flying direct flights to Tel Aviv. And El-Al, Israel’s national airline, and possibly one other, will be flying directly to Cairo. And there is—and that there is talk of economic cooperation. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Sharm al-Sheikh not long ago. That was the first meeting of Israeli leaders—first public meeting of Israeli leaders and Egyptian leaders in ten years. So there does seem to be an openness on the part of Arab governments to Israel. As far as populations in these countries, they don’t yet seem to be ready for normalization, although there has been some traffic between Israel and the UAE, with Emiratis coming to see Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and so on and so forth. But there are very, very few Emiratis. And there are a lot of Egyptians. So as positive as that all is, this is—this has not been a kind of broad acceptance among the population in the Arab world for Israel’s legitimate existence. And the kind of issue du jour, great-power competition. This is on everybody’s lips in Washington, D.C.—great-power competition, great-power competition. And certainly, the Middle East is likely to be an arena of great-power competition. It has always been an arena of great-power competition. For the first time in more than two decades, the United States has competitors in the region. And let me start with Russia, because there’s been so much discussion of China, but Russia is the one that has been actively engaged militarily in the region in a number of places. Vladimir Putin has parlayed his rescue of Hafez al-Assad into influence in the region, in an arc that stretches from NATO ally Turkey, all the way down through the Levant and through Damascus, then even stretching to Jerusalem where Israeli governments and the Russian government have cooperated and coordinated in Syria, into Cairo, and then into at least the eastern portion of Libya, where the Russians have supported a Qaddafist general named Khalifa Haftar, who used to be an employee of the CIA, in his bid for power in Libya. And he has done so by providing weaponry to Haftar, as well as mercenaries to fight and support him. That episode may very well be over, although there’s every reason to believe that Haftar is trying to rearm himself and carry on the conflict should the process—should the political process in Libya break down. Russia has sold more weapons to Egypt in the last few years than at any other time since the early 1970s. They have a defense agreement with Saudi Arabia. It’s not clear what that actually means, but that defense agreement was signed not that long after the United States’ rather chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which clearly unnerved governments in the Middle East. So Russia is active, it’s influential, its militarily engaged, and it is seeking to advance its interests throughout the region. I’ll point out that its presence in North Africa is not necessarily so much about North Africa, but it’s also about Europe. Its bid in Libya is important because its ally controls the eastern portion of Libya, where most of Libya’s light, sweet crude oil is located. And that is the largest—the most significant reserves of oil in all of Africa. So it’s important as an energy play for the Russians to control parts of North Africa, and right on Russia’s—right on Europe’s front doorstep. China. China’s the largest investor and single largest trading partner with most of the region. And it’s not just energy related. We know how dependent China is on oil from the Gulf, but it’s made big investments in Algeria, in Egypt, the UAE, and in Iran. The agreement with Iran, a twenty-five-year agreement, coming at a time when the Iranians were under significant pressure from the United States, was regarded by many in Washington as an effort on the part of the Chinese to undercut the United States, and undercut U.S. policy in the region. I think it was, in part, that. I think it was also in part the fact that China is dependent in part on Iranian oil and did not want the regime there to collapse, posing a potential energy crisis for China and the rest of the world. It seems clear to me, at least, that the Chinese do not want to supplant the United States in the region. I don’t think they look at the region in that way. And if they did, they probably learned the lesson of the United States of the last twenty-five years, which has gotten itself wrapped around the axle on a variety of issues that were unnecessary and sapped the power of the United States. So they don’t want to get more deeply involved in the region. They don’t want to take sides in conflicts. They don’t want to take sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. They don’t take sides in the conflict between the United States and Iran, or the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran. They want to benefit from the region, whether through investment or through extraction, and the security umbrella that the United States provides in the region. I’m not necessarily so sure that that security umbrella needs to be so expensive and so extensive for the United States to achieve its goals. But nevertheless, and for the time being at least, we will be providing that security umbrella in the region, from which the Chinese will benefit. I think, just to close on this issue of great-power competition. And because of time, I’m leaving out another big player, or emerging player in the region, which is India. I’m happy to talk about that in Q&A. But my last point is that, going back to the United States, countries in the region and leaders in the region are predisposed towards the United States. The problem is, is that they are very well-aware of the political polarization in this country. They’re very well-aware of the political dysfunction in this country. They’re very well-aware of the incompetence that came with the invasion of Iraq, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or any number of disasters that have unfolded here in the United States. And it doesn’t look, from where they sit in Abu Dhabi, in Cairo, in Riyadh, and in other places, that the United States has staying power, the will to lead, and the interest in remaining in the Middle East. And thus, they have turned to alternatives. Those alternatives are not the same as the United States, but they do provide something. I mean, particularly when it comes to the Chinese it is investment, it’s economic advantages, without the kind of trouble that comes with the United States. Trouble from the perspective of leaders, so that they don’t have to worry about human rights when they deal with the Chinese, because the Chinese aren’t interested in human rights. But nevertheless, they remain disclosed toward the United States and want to work with the United States. They just don’t know whether we’re going to be there over the long term, given what is going on in the United States. I’ll stop there. And I look forward to your questions and comments. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Steven, that was fantastic. Thank you very much. We’re going to now to all of you for your questions. So the first raised hand comes from Jonas Truneh. And I don’t think I pronounced that correctly, so you can correct me. Q: Yeah, no, that’s right. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Dr. Cook, for your talk. I’m from UCL, University College London, in London. COOK: So it is—(off mic). Q: Indeed, it is. Yeah. That’s right. COOK: Great. Q: So you touched on it there somewhat particularly with great-power competition, but so my question is related to the current energy logic in the Middle East. The Obama administration perhaps thought that the shale revolution allowed a de-prioritization, if I’m allowed to use that word, of the Middle East. And that was partly related to the pivot to Asia. So essentially does the U.S. still regard itself as the primary guarantor of energy security in the Persian Gulf? And if so, would the greatest beneficiary, as I think you indicated, would that not be China? And is that a case of perverse incentives? Is there much the U.S. can do about it? COOK: Well, it depends on who you ask, right? And it’s a great question. I think that the—one of the things that—one of the ways in which the Obama administration sought to deprioritize and leave the region was through the shale revolution. I mean, the one piece of advice that he did take from one of his opponents in 2002—2008, which was to drill, baby, drill. And the United States did. I would not say that this is something that is specific to the Obama administration. If you go back to speeches of presidents way back—but I won’t even go that far back. I’ll go to George W. Bush in 2005 State of the Union addressed, talked all about energy independence from the Middle East. This may not actually be in much less the foreseeable future, but in really—in a longer-term perspective, it may be harder to do. But it is politically appealing. The reason why I say it depends on who you ask, I think that there are officials in the United States who say: Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. But when the Iranians attacked those two oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, that temporarily took off 50 percent of supply off the markets—good thing the Saudis have a lot stored away—the United States didn’t really respond. The president of the United States said: I’m waiting for a call from Riyadh. That forty years of stated American policy was, like, it did not exist. The Carter doctrine and the Reagan corollary to the Carter doctrine suddenly didn’t exist. And the entirety of the American foreign policy community shrugged their shoulders and said: We’re not going to war on behalf of MBS. I don’t think we would have been going to war on behalf of MBS. We would have been ensuring the free flow of energy supplies out of the region, which is something that we have been committed to doing since President Carter articulated the Carter doctrine, and then President Reagan added his corollary to it. I think that there are a number of quite perverse incentives associated with this. And I think that you’re right. The question is whether the competition from China outweighs our—I’m talking about “our”—the United States’ compelling interest in a healthy global economy. And to the extent that our partners in Asia, whether it’s India, South Korea, Japan, and our important trading partner in China, are dependent upon energy resources from the Gulf, and we don’t trust anybody to ensure the free flow of energy resources from the Gulf, it’s going to be on us to do it. So we are kind of hammered between that desire to have a healthy global economy as being—and being very wary of the Chinese. And the Chinese, I think, are abundantly aware of it, and have sought to take advantage of it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question, which got an up-vote, from Charles Ammon, who is at Pennsylvania State University. And I think this goes to what you were building on with the great-power competition: What interests does India have in the Middle East? And how is it increasing its involvement in the region? COOK: So India is—imports 60 percent of its oil from the region. Fully 20 percent of it from Saudi Arabia, another 20 percent of it from Iran, and then the other 20 percent from other sources. So that’s one thing. That’s one reason why India is interested in the Middle East. Second, there are millions and millions of Indians who work in the Middle East. The Gulf region is a region that basically could not run without South Asian expatriate labor, most of which comes from India—on everything. Third, India has made considerable headway with countries like the United Arab Emirates, as well as Saudi Arabia, in counterextremism cooperation. This has come at the expense of Pakistan, but as relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and relations between Pakistan and the UAE soured in recent years, the Indians have been able to take advantage of that. And Indian leaders have hammered away at the common interest that India and leaders in the region have in terms of countering violent extremism. And then finally, India and Israel have quite an extraordinary relationship, both in the tech field as well as in the defense area. Israel is a supplier to India. And the two of them are part of a kind of global network of high-tech powerhouse that have either, you know, a wealth of startups or very significant investment from the major tech players in the world. Israel—Microsoft just announced a huge expansion in Israel. And Israeli engineers and Indian engineers collaborate on a variety of projects for these big tech companies. So there’s a kind of multifaceted Indian interest in the region, and the region’s interest in India. What India lacks that the Chinese have is a lot more capacity. They don’t have the kind of wherewithal to bring investment and trade in the region in the other direction. But nevertheless, it’s a much more important player than it was in the past. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Curran Flynn, who has a raised hand. Q: How do you envision the future of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia politics for the next thirty years? Ethiopia controls the Nile dam projects. And could this dispute lead to a war? And what is the progress with the U.S. in mediating the talks between the three countries? COOK: Thank you. FASKIANOS: And that is coming from the King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia. COOK: Fabulous. So that’s more than the evening. It’s actually nighttime there. I think that the question of the great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is really an important one, and it’s something that has not gotten as much attention as it should. And for those of you who are not familiar, in short the Ethiopians have been building a massive dam on the Blue Nile, which is a tributary to the Nile. And that if—when competed, threatens the water supply to Egypt, a country of 110 million people that doesn’t get a lot of rainfall. Ethiopia, of course, wants to dam the Nile in order to produce hydroelectric power for its own development, something that Egypt did when it dammed the Nile River to build the Aswan High Dam, and crated Lake Nasser behind it. The Egyptians are very, very concerned. This is an existential issue for them. And there have been on and off negotiations, but the negotiations aren’t really about the issues. They’re talks about talks about talks. And they haven’t gotten—they haven’t gotten very far. Now, the Egyptians have been supported by the Sudanese government, after the Sudanese government had been somewhat aligned with the Ethiopian government. The Trump administration put itself squarely behind the Egyptian government, but Ethiopia’s also an important partner of the United States in the Horn of Africa. The Egyptians have gone about signing defense cooperation agreements with a variety of countries around Ethiopia’s borders. And of course, Ethiopia is engaged in essentially what’s a civil war. This is a very, very difficult and complicated situation. Thus far, there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution the problem. Now, here’s the rub, if you talk to engineers, if you talk to people who study water, if you talk to people who know about dams and the flow of water, the resolution to the problem is actually not that hard to get to. The problem is that the politics and nationalism have been engaged on both sides of the issue, making it much, much more difficult to negotiate an equitable solution to the problem. The Egyptians have said in the past that they don’t really have an intention of using force, despite the fact of this being an existential issue. But there’s been somewhat of a shift in their language on the issue. Which recently they’ve said if red lines were crossed, they may be forced to intervene. Intervene how? What are those red lines? They haven’t been willing to define them, which should make everybody nervous. The good news is that Biden administration has appointed an envoy to deal with issues in the Horn of Africa, who has been working very hard to try to resolve the conflict. I think the problem here however is that Ethiopia, now distracted by a conflict in the Tigray region, nationalism is running high there, has been—I don’t want to use the word impervious—but not as interested in finding a negotiated solution to the problem than it might have otherwise been in the past. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Bob Pauly, who’s a professor of international development at the University of Southern Mississippi. It got three up-votes. What would you identify as the most significant likely short and longer-term effects of Turkey’s present domestic economic and political challenges on President Erdogan’s strategy and policy approaches to the Middle East, and why? COOK: Oh, well, that is a very, very long answer to a very, very interesting question. Let’s see what happens in 2023. President Erdogan is facing reelection. His goal all along has been to reelected on the one hundredth anniversary of the republic, and to demonstrate how much he has transformed Turkey in the image of the Justice and Development Party, and moved it away from the institutions of the republic. Erdogan may not make it to 2023. I don’t want to pedal in conspiracy theories or anything like that, but he doesn’t look well. There are large numbers of videos that have surfaced of him having difficulties, including one famous one from this past summer when he was offering a Ramadan greeting on Turkish television to supporters of the Justice and Development Party, and he seemed to fade out and slur his words. This is coupled with reports trickling out of Ankara about the lengths to which the inner circle has gone to shield real health concerns about Erdogan from the public. It’s hard to really diagnose someone from more than six thousand miles away, but I think it’s a scenario that policymakers in Washington need to think seriously about. What happens if Erdogan is incapacitated or dies before 2023? That’s one piece. The second piece is, well, what if he makes it and he’s reelected? And I think in any reasonable observer sitting around at the end of 2021 looking forward to 2023 would say two things: One, you really can’t predict Turkish politics this far out, but if Turkish elections were held today and they were free and fair, the Justice and Development Party would get below 30 percent. Still more than everybody else. And Erdogan would have a real fight on his hands to get reelected, which he probably would be. His approaches to his domestic challenges and his approaches to the region are really based on what his current political calculations are at any given moment. So his needlessly aggressive posture in the Eastern Mediterranean was a function of the fact that he needed to shore up his nationalist base. Now that he finds himself quite isolated in the world, the Turks have made overtures to Israel, to the UAE, to Saudi Arabia. They’re virtually chasing the Egyptians around the Eastern Mediterranean to repair their relationship. Because without repairing these relationships the kind of investment that is necessary to try to help revive the Turkish economy—which has been on the skids for a number of years—is going to be—is going to be more difficult. There’s also another piece of this, which is the Middle East is a rather lucrative arms market. And during the AKP era, the Turks have had a significant amount of success further developing their defense industrial base, to the point that now their drones are coveted. Now one of the reasons for a Saudi-Turkish rapprochement is that the United States will not sell Saudi Arabia the drones it wants, for fear that they will use them in Yemen. And the Saudis are looking for drones elsewhere. That’s either China or Turkey. And Turkey’s seem to work really, really well, based on experience in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh. So what—Turkish foreign policy towards the region has become really dependent upon what Erdogan’s particularly political needs are. There’s no strategic approach to the region. There is a vision of Turkey as a leader of the region, of a great power in its own right, as a leader of the Muslim world, as a Mediterranean power as well. But that’s nothing new. Turkish Islamists have been talking about these things for quite some time. I think it’s important that there’s been some de-escalation. I don’t think that all of these countries now love each other, but they see the wisdom of pulling back from—pulling back from the brink. I don’t see Turkey’s position changing dramatically in terms of its kind of reintegration into the broader region before 2023, at the least. FASKIANOS: Great. Let’s go next to, raised hand, to Caleb Sanner. And you need to unmute yourself. Q: Hello, my name is Caleb. I’m from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. So, Dr. Cook, you had mentioned in passing how China has been involved economically in North Africa. And my question would be, how is the U.S. taking that? And what are we doing, in a sense, to kind of counter that? I know it’s not a military advancement in terms of that, but I’ve seen what it has been doing to their economies—North Africa’s economies. And, yeah, what’s the U.S. stance on that? COOK: Well, I think the United States is somewhat detached from this question of North Africa. North Africa’s long been a—with the exception of Egypt, of course. And Egypt, you know, is not really North Africa. Egypt is something in and of itself. That China is investing heavily in Egypt. And the Egyptian position is: Please don’t ask us to choose between you and the Chinese, because we’re not going to make that choice. We think investment from all of these places is good for—is good for Egypt. And the other places where China is investing, and that’s mostly in Algeria, the United States really doesn’t have close ties to Algeria. There was a tightening of the relationship after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, recognizing that the Algerians—extremist groups in Algerian that had been waging war against the state there over the course of the 1990s were part and parcel of this new phenomenon of global jihad. And so there has been a security relationship there. There has been some kind of big infrastructure kind of investment in that country, with big companies that build big things, like GE and others, involved in Algeria. But the United States isn’t helping to develop ports or industrial parks or critical infrastructure like bridges and airports in the same way that the Chinese have been doing throughout the region. And in Algeria, as well as in Egypt, the Chinese are building a fairly significant industrial center in the Suez Canal zone, of all places. And the United States simply doesn’t have an answer to it, other than to tell our traditional partners in the region, don’t do it. But unless we show up with something to offer them, I’m afraid that Chinese investment is going to be too attractive for countries that are in need of this kind of investment. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to a written question from Kenneth Mayers, who is at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. In your opinion, what would a strategic vision based on a far-sighted understanding of both resources and U.S. goals—with regard to peace and security, prosperity and development, and institutions and norms and values such as human rights—look like in the Middle East and North Africa? COOK: Well, it’s a great question. And I’m tempted to say you’re going to have to read the last third of my new book in order to get the—in order to get the answer. I think but let me start with something mentioned about norms and values. I think that one of the things that has plagued American foreign policy over the course of not just the last twenty years, but in the post-World War II era all the way up through the present day, you see it very, very clearly with President Biden, is that trying to incorporate American values and norms into our approach to the region has been extraordinarily difficult. And what we have a history of doing is the thing that is strategically tenable, but morally suspect. So what I would say is, I mean, just look at what’s happened recently. The president of the United States studiously avoided placing a telephone call to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptians, as many know, have a terrible record on human rights, particularly since President Sisi came to power. Arrests of tens of thousands of people in the country, the torture of many, many people, the killings of people. And the president during his campaign said that he was going to give no blank checks to dictators, including to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. And then what happened in May? What happened in May was that fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas and others in the Gaza Strip, a brutal eleven-day conflict. And Egypt stepped up and provided a way out of the conflict through its good offices. And that prompted the United States to—the president of the United States—to have two phone calls in those eleven days with the Egyptian leader. And now the United States is talking about Egypt as a constructive partner that’s helping to stabilize the region. Sure, the administration suspended $130 million of Egypt’s annual—$130 million Egypt’s annual allotment of $1.3 billion. But that is not a lot. Egypt got most of—most of its military aid. As I said, strategically tenable, morally suspect. I’m not quite sure how we get out of that. But what I do know, and I’ll give you a little bit of a preview of the last third of the book—but I really do want you to buy it when it’s done—is that the traditional interests of the United States in the Middle East are changing. And I go through a kind of quasi, long, somewhat tortured—but very, very interesting—discussion of the origins of our interests, and how they are changing, and how we can tell they are changing. And that is to say that the free flow of energy resources may not be as important to the United States in the next twenty-five years as it was over the course of the previous fifty or sixty years. That helping to ensure Israeli security, which has been axiomatic for the United States, eh, I’d say since the 1960s, really, may not be as important as Israel develops its diplomatic relations with its neighbors, that has a GDP per capita that’s on par with the U.K., and France, and other partners in Europe, a country that clearly can take care of itself, that is a driver of technology and innovation around the globe. And that may no longer require America’s military dominance in the region. So what is that we want to be doing? How can we be constructive? And I think the answers are in things that we hadn’t really thought of too systematically in the past. What are the things that we’re willing to invest in an defend going forward? Things like climate change, things like migration, things like pandemic disease. These are things that we’ve talked about, but that we’ve never been willing to invest in the kind of the resources. Now there are parts of the Middle East that during the summer months are in-habitable. That’s going to produce waves of people looking for places to live that are inhabitable. What do we do about that? Does that destabilize the Indian subcontinent? Does it destabilize Europe? Does it destabilize North Africa? These are all questions that we haven’t yet answered. But to the extent that we want to invest in, defend and sacrifice for things like climate, and we want to address the issue—related issue of migration, and we want to deal with the issue of disease and other of these kind of functional global issues in the Middle East is better not just for us and Middle Easterners, but also in terms of our strategic—our great-power competition in the region. These are not things that the Chinese and the Russians are terribly interested in, despite the fact that the Chinese may tell you they are. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Ahmuan Williams, with a raised hand, at the University of Oklahoma. COOK: Oklahoma. Q: Hi. And thank you for being here. You kind of talked about the stabilization of northern Africa and the Middle East. And just a few days ago the Sudanese government—and they still haven’t helped capture the parliamentarian there—have recycled back into a military—somewhat of military rule. And it’s been since 2005 since the end of their last civil war, which claimed millions of innocent civilians through starvation and strife and, you know, the lack of being able to get humanitarian aid. There was also a huge refugee crisis there, a lot of people who evacuated Sudan. How’s that going to impact the Middle East and the American take to Middle East and northern Africa policy, especially now that the Security Council is now considering this and is trying to determine what we should do? COOK: It’s a great question. And I think that, first, let’s be clear. There was a coup d’état in Sudan. The military overthrew a transitional government on the eve of having to hand over the government to civilians. And they didn’t like it. There’s been tension that’s been brewing in Sudan for some time. Actually, an American envoy, our envoy to East Africa and Africa more generally, a guy named Jeff Feltman, was in Khartoum, trying to kind of calm the tension, to get the two sides together, and working to avert a coup. And the day after he left, the military moved. That’s not—that doesn’t reflect the fact that the United States gave a blessing for the military to overthrow this government. I think what it does, though, and it’s something that I think we all need to keep in mind, it demonstrates the limits of American power in a variety of places around the world. That we don’t have all the power in the world to prevent things from happening when people, like the leaders of the Sudanese military, believe that they have existential issues that are at stake. Now, what’s worry about destabilization in Sudan is, as you point out, there was a civil war there, there was the creation of a new country there, potential for—if things got really out of hand—refugee flows into Egypt, from Egypt across the Sanai Peninsula into Israel. One of the things people are unaware of is the large number of Sudanese or Eritreans and other Africans who have sought refuge in Israel, which has created significant economic and social strains in that country. So it’s a big deal. Thus far, it seems we don’t—that the U.S. government doesn’t know exactly what’s happening there. There are protesters in the streets demanding democracy. It’s very unclear what the military is going to do. And it’s very unclear what our regional allies and how they view what’s happening. What Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, what Saudi Arabia, what Israel—which Sudan is an Abraham Accords country now—what they are doing. How they view the coup as positive or negative will likely impact how effective the United States can be in trying to manage this situation. But I suspect that we’re just going to have to accommodate ourselves to whatever outcome the Sudanese people and the Sudanese military come to, because I don’t think we have a lot of—we don’t have a lot of tools there to make everybody behave. FASKIANOS: OK. So I’m going to take the next question from Elena Murphy, who is a junior at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. And she’s a diplomatic intern at the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Representation in the United States. COOK: That’s cool. FASKIANOS: That’s very cool. So as a follow up, how much do you believe neo-Ottomanism and attempting regional hegemony has affected Erdogan’s domestic and foreign policy, especially in consideration of Turkey’s shift towards the MENA in their foreign policy, after a period of withdrawals and no problems with neighbors policy? COOK: Great. Can I see that? Because that’s a long question. FASKIANOS: Yeah, it’s a long question. It’s got an up-vote. Third one down. COOK: Third one down. Elena, as a follow up, how much do you believe neo-Ottomanism—I’m sorry, I’m going to have to read it again. How much do you believe neo-Ottomanism and attempting regional has affected Erdogan’s both domestic and foreign policy, especially in consideration of Turkey’s shift towards the MENA in their foreign policy, after a period of withdrawals and no problems with neighbors? OK. Great. So let us set aside the term “neo-Ottomanism” for now. Because neo-Ottomanism actually—it does mean something, but people have often used the term neo-Ottomanism to describe policies of the Turkish government under President Erdogan that they don’t like. And so let’s just talk about the way in which the Turkish government under President Erdogan views the region and views what Turkey’s rightful place should be. And I think the Ottomanism piece is important, because the kind of intellectual framework which the Justice and Development Party, which is Erdogan’s party, views the world, sees Turkey as—first of all, it sees the Turkish Republic as a not-so-legitimate heir to the Ottoman Empire. That from their perspective, the natural order of things would have been the continuation of the empire in some form or another. And as a result, they believe that Turkey’s natural place is a place of leadership in the region for a long time. Even before the Justice and Development Party was founded in 2001, Turkey’s earlier generation of Islamists used to savage the Turkish leadership for its desire to be part of the West, by saying that this was kind of unnatural, that they were just merely aping the West, and the West was never actually going to accept Turkey. Which is probably true. But I think that the Justice and Development Party, after a period of wanting to become closer to the West, has turned its attention towards the Middle East, North Africa, and the Muslim world more generally. And in that, it sees itself, the Turks see themselves as the natural leaders in the region. They believe they have a cultural affinity to the region as a result of the legacies of the Ottoman Empire, and they very much can play this role of leader. They see themselves as one of the kind of few real countries in the region, along with Egypt and Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the rest are sort of ephemeral. Needless to say, big countries in the Arab world—like Egypt, like Saudi Arabia—don’t welcome the idea of Turkey as a leader of the region. They recognize Turkey as a very big and important country, but not a leader of the region. And this is part of that friction that Turkey has experienced with its neighbors, after an earlier iteration of Turkish foreign policy, in which—one of the earliest iterations of Turkish foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party which was called no problems with neighbors. In which Turkey, regardless of the character of the regimes, wanted to have good relations with its neighbors. It could trade with those neighbors. And make everybody—in the process, Turkey could be a driver of economic development in the region, and everybody can be basically wealthy and happy. And it didn’t really work out that way, for a variety of reasons that we don’t have enough time for. Let’s leave it at the fact that Turkey under Erdogan—and a view that is shared by many—that Turkey should be a leader of the region. And I suspect that if Erdogan were to die, if he were unable to stand for election, if the opposition were to win, that there would still be elements of this desire to be a regional leader in a new Turkish foreign policy. FASKIANOS: Steven, thank you very much. This was really terrific. We appreciate your stepping in at the eleventh hour, taking time away from your book. For all of you— COOK: I’m still not Sanam. FASKIANOS: (Laughs.) I know, but you were an awesome replacement. So you can follow Steven Cook on Twitter at @stevenacook. As I said at the beginning too, he is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine. So you can read his work there, as well as, of course, on CFR.org, all of the commentary, analysis, op-eds, congressional testimony are there for free. So I hope you will follow him and look after his next book. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday November 3, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow us, @CFR_Academic, visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. And stay well, stay safe, and thank you, again. COOK: Bye, everyone. FASKIANOS: Bye. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Civic Engagement in Higher Education
    Play
    Brian Mateo, associate dean of civic engagement and director of strategic partnerships in Bard College’s Globalization and International Affairs Program and security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, discusses how higher education administrators can encourage student civic engagement and participation in global issues.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic if you would like to reference after today’s discussion. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. So with that, I’m delighted to have the pleasure of introducing Brian Mateo to talk about how higher education administrators can encourage student civic engagement and participation in global issues. We’ve shared his bio with you, so I’ll just give you a few highlights. Mr. Mateo serves as associate dean of civic engagement at Bard College, where he works with faculty and students across the Open Society University Network on experiential learning and civic engagement opportunities. Previously he worked with public diplomacy programs sponsored by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on U.S. foreign policy and engagement. He’s also a security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a trained climate reality leader under former Vice President Al Gore. So, Brian, thank you very much for being with us. If we could just dive right in to talk about what is the role of higher education in civic engagement? How do you define it, and how do you encourage administrators and students to get more involved? MATEO: Thank you very much for having me here today at the Council on Foreign Relations, Irina. I’m very excited for this opportunity. So, yes, what is the role of higher education institutions when it comes to civic engagement? So the American Psychological Association defines civic engagement as individuals and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. At the core of Bard’s mission is to be a private college in the public interest. And how we do that is by providing access and education, especially for students that are underrepresented or may not have access to a liberal arts education. This is evidenced by our Bard Early Colleges, which are high school—which are for high school aged students that can take up to a year or two years of free college credit to be able to accelerate their college career. It’s also evidenced by our Bard Prison Initiative, which is the largest prison education program for incarcerated individuals in the nation. So when we think about how do we do this, I see—I can’t help but think about Astin’s model of student development, which says that for students that are hyper-involved in their institutions, they get to be more engaged and involved, and the quality of their involvement goes up. And if we provide high level of programs and resources, students are more likely to be engaged. And then Astin also encourages us to make sure that we are providing resources and programmatic efforts that are meeting the needs of the students today. And I will begin to talk about how we do this from the student level, the faculty/staff level, institutionally, and also talk about how we work with communities. And before I begin, Bard also is a founding member of the Open Society University Network, which is comprised of over forty academic and research institutions. So not only are we also collaborating with our local communities, we also have a transnational network that we’re working with. So how do you engage students? We do this by making sure that we’re merging the curricular and co-curricular learning. This is also evidenced by our Certificate of Civic Engagement Program, which is a structured path for undergraduate students that are interested in deepening their knowledge and understanding of civic engagement and community engagement. And students are able to participate in this program and also earn a certificate that will also be added to their transcript. We also provide students with grants and opportunities to pursue internships that are unpaid, which are—which are called Community Act Awards. So students that find unpaid internships related to civic engagement and also social justice issues can apply for a grant to be able to supplement that, and making it more equitable for our students. We also provide what are called microgrants, which are seed funding for students that want to be able to do community-based projects. For faculty and staff, we encourage them to teach courses on experiential learning. And these courses enable students to not only work with the community but bring the community also into our classroom. And looking at David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, where students need—where students start with concrete experience, work on reflection, and also thinking about the experience while then planning and learning what they’ve—and executing what they’ve learned, is very important when it comes to civic engagement work because students are—students are introduced to some of these issues in the classroom, and then they have the ability to work through those issues with a professor and community members as well. And some example of these courses are—I teach a course on civic engagement myself, where the course is historical, theoretical, and experiential. And we look at social movements in America that help effect change. And we look at the civil rights movement, women rights, LGBT rights, climate activism and climate action, as well as the role of the media and what is misinformation and disinformation. And in this course, students also have to conduct what’s called the Community Needs Assessment. And the Community Needs Assessment, students come with a research question and then work to interview community members to see what are the issues that are happening there. For faculty that also want to learn more about how to create courses on experiential learning, we also offer an experiential leaning institute where faculty from the OSUN network can participate. And then students—examples of work that faculty have done with students have been implementing a digital platform to assist with teaching or tutoring practices, historical tours and workshops, and also storytelling and interviews of community partners as well. Faculty that teach experiential learning, students say that about 89 percent of them say that engagement this way has helped their awareness to social justice and community issues. And in 2020 we had over eight hundred students that participated in about eighty courses. And those courses worked with ninety-five community agencies or organizations. We also help faculty and graduate students on conducting engaged research and scholarship practice. So some of examples of these are looking at LGBT issues in South Africa, the intersection of how music supports education with people—with people with disabilities, and also peacebuilding and storytelling as well. And we also help staff and faculty create civic action plans, which help colleges around the OSUN network institutionalize civic engagement and strategically think of how these four pillars can work together. While working with community partners, we’re also very intentional in making sure that we have equitable practices. We developed what’s called the Principles of Equity, where faculty/staff and community members can read on our website on how we work with the community, and making sure that it’s reciprocal, making sure that it’s—that we’re deepening and creating sustainable partnerships while also engaging community with resources and developing shared resources as well that can benefit both the community and students and the institution. When it comes to institutional engagement, I gave examples of the Bard Early Colleges and Bard Prison Initiative. Bard has also been able to work with student-led—with other student-led initiatives that have become part of the institution. Examples of these as well are Brothers At, which is a mentoring and college-readiness program nationwide for young men of color, as well as Sister to Sister, that does similar work but with young women of color. And recently, Bard also has worked with trying to evacuate nearly two hundred Afghan students and helping them get an education throughout our network as well. So those are some examples of institutional engagement at Bard—at Bard as well. And I constantly think to myself: What is it that we want our students to gain when they participate in our—in our program, or engage with our network? And looking back at Astin’s theory of student involvement, we see that Astin talks about inputs, which are what students come with, the environment, what is it that we’re providing for our students, and the outputs. As a result of a student attending our universities, what is it that we want them to get out of this, aside from just, you know, the academic knowledge. But how do we want them to be involved? And in my opinion, I feel like there’s a few outputs that we would want, as higher education administrators. And I’ll state them and then conclude my presentation. So I strongly believe that, you know, we want them to be critical thinkers. We want them to understand and practice equity, be strategic problem solvers, understand the power of reflection and active listening, community builders, practice empathy, be lifelong learners, and also ultimately be engaged individuals. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Brian, thank you very much. Let’s go to all of you now. (Gives queuing instructions.)  So I’m going to go first go to Manuel Montoya. Please unmute yourself and tell us your institution. Q: Yeah. Hello. My name’s Manuel Montoya and I am from the University of New Mexico. Thank you, Irina, for setting this up. I think this is an important discussion. And thank you, Mr. Mateo, for your presentation. I’m pleased to hear all the work that you’re doing. That’s inspiring. I will, I guess, do two parts. I will share some of the work that I’ve done and then share a question that I think is germane to this particular issue. We recently set up a global experiential learning curriculum at the university that is designed to get students to merge theory with practice and some sort of practical impact in terms of the global economy and other things. And we have a—we have a group of students that work with the largest folk art market in the world, which is based in Santa Fe. And we’re trying to get them to work with indigenous communities throughout the world to try to have a larger platform for market entry. And we’re—we’ve been in talks for the past four years to try to get the Olympic games to have some sort of mini pop-up folk art market that represents these types of market activities. And inside of that there is a lot of issues about human rights, but also about the value of crafting economy. There’s all sorts of things that students are trying to engage with that require a liberal arts education. My question, or my frustration, often happens at places that aren’t like Bard College, places that don’t necessarily see community-engaged learning as having some sort of incentive structure for faculty. I’m one of many faculty members that does that, likely because I care about the issues and also because I think that it does make research and other forms of academic and intellectual contributions valuable. So my question to Mr. Mateo, or just generally to whoever’s participating, is how are we creating an incentive structure for faculty and for other people who are engaged within the university system to make this transition to do the kind of work that Mr. Mateo is talking about? And what is that—what is that going to take in places that are embedded a little bit more traditionally in the way that higher education either incentivizes or evaluates faculty and stuff in more traditional ways? MATEO: Yes. Thank you so much for your question. And it’s a question that we’re all grappling with, right, as well. Some of us—some of us are doing the work deeper and, you know, sometimes taking risks, and others are in the inception piece. So I’ll elaborate by saying this: Students more and more are asking how do I apply what I’m learning in the classroom to a job? How do I make sure that, as a result of me attending this institution, I’m also going to be competitive or be able to contribute to society, right? So I think that—I think that more and more institutions and faculty are thinking about this, because you—you know, students are less inclined to go be taught something and not be able to apply it. At the same time, students also want to see themselves, their history, and also what’s going on in the community into the curriculum too. So this is also driving the conversation. It is not easy to teach courses on experiential learning. It takes a lot of time. It also takes resources. And you have to embed reflection and community engagement into the syllabus. And sometimes when you’re teaching two days a week for an hour or an hour and a half—you know, fifteen-week curriculum for the semester, that can be difficult to do. So what we’ve done is that we’ve developed an experiential learning institute to help faculty understand how to bring this thing into it, how to work with community, how to start that timeline. Because it’s very different to develop a syllabus than to bring in community, because you sometimes have to start setting that up earlier. And also, we provide grants to support them to be able to do either—to buy resources for transportation, if they need to hire a student intern to help them with this work as well. So those are some of the ways that we have tried to do this. I also want to talk about data and assessment, because I can’t stress enough how much—how important that is. Because when you’re measuring students’ learning and you see that their learning has grown exponentially from an experiential based course, you cannot argue with that, right? So we try to do our best to make sure that we are—that we’re also assessing learning and making sure that when—that when we are asking for funding or that when we are trying to create new programs and initiatives, that we are doing this not only evidence-based in theory and practice, but also on the data that proves that this is something that is of a benefit to the community, to our students, and our institution. Q: Thank you, Mr. Mateo. I guess I have one follow-up question, if it’s permissible, Irina. FASKIANOS: Sure. Go ahead, Manuel. Q: Yeah, yeah. So I think you’re entirely right. I think that assessment at the student level and the student engagement level, being able to see how this connects to the vocational and even their social destinies is a really, really important factor. I’ve noted that many institutions across the country are having a great difficulty trying to incorporate or embed community engagement as how they evaluate their faculty. And I’m a tenured faculty at the university, and it’s a research one institution. It’s not a liberal arts institution. But, you know, publish or perish becomes still one of the ways in which I’m evaluated. So I have to—I have to attend to this kind of master of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, while at the same time my heart and really the most effective work that I do is during community engagement work. So I guess my question is also fundamentally about how we’re—how we’re transforming institutions to be able to adapt and really incorporate the type of community engagement work that you’re talking about, Mr. Mateo, while at the same time valuing and validating its value with the assessment of faculty every year. Because I would say that you’d get a ton of faculty who’d be really good at doing this kind of work, but they’re disincentivized to do it because they’re only evaluated by their peer-reviewed journal work. So how does one connect the two? What is the frontier for that in higher education that you guys have seen? And I’d really, really like to know, because I think that’s going to be a really important part of the frontier of what higher education is dealing with. MATEO: Well, yes, thank you. And, you know, as a field of higher education we’re here not only teach, but provide knowledge, and hopefully that that knowledge helps better communities or help create an awareness, right? So that’s something that needs to—that needs to be a driving source and conversation because, you know, what we try to do is to incentivize faculty whenever they aren’t conducting research, and also students as well, when they want to do community-based work, to see who they can partner with, how they can go about and do that. And making sure that we’re amplifying voices and showing the level of work that people are doing so, like, that their work can be recognized and that it also shows that there’s a value to this as well. So that’s what I would say there. It’s still something that I think institutions grapple with, but more and more I believe that as institutions begin to see the value of being civically engaged, because at the end of the day, you know, we all also exist in the community. Our colleges and our campuses are within our community, within a community, within a domestic national and international realm. And, you know, what is it that we want to do? We want to contribute. And that’s one of the reasons why we also provide engaged research grants for faculty too. So I hope that that answers your question, Manuel, and I’m happy to elaborate more. Q: I’ll yield to other questions. But thank you very much. I appreciate it. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Laila Bichara, who has a raised hand. And if you could unmute and identify your institution. Q: Hi. Well, I work for SUNY Farmingdale. And generally speaking, I teach with experiential learning. I use all kinds of newspapers and case studies and current affairs to make sure that the theory we cover in global business, you know, management and all other courses are, you know, applied and showing the results and what’s going on. That said, I am currently serving on an adjunct staff to work on couple of issues. One is social mobility and the second is community engagement, and I see a lot of interrelation between this and experiential learning. And I just wanted to see if there is any work done or papers done in the social mobility, because our students are typically first-generation college students. They don’t have role models at home and they rely heavily on us to guide them, and they’re usually kids or, you know, students in their twenties that have two or three jobs to pay for their education. So any ideas, any links, any guidance for me to start to make advancement in that project and help my students. MATEO: Great. Thank you. So what I hear you say is that looking at the linkages between social mobility, community engagement, and which one was the third one? Q: Experiential learning as well. MATEO: Experiential learning. Yes. Q: Yeah. It’s all a kind of, like, spiral to me. You know, that’s how I see it. MATEO: Yes. So when allowing students to do experiential learning into the classroom and bringing into the classroom, you’re also helping them get applied skills, and yes, so there is at times a level of—a disadvantage when a student is working three jobs while also studying and then you’re telling them like, oh, go volunteer, or go do this, right. By embedding experiential learning into the curriculum, you’re still teaching students with some of these applicable skills that they can use as a part of a resume and also can speak to in an interview and saying, like, this is how I was able to do this as evidenced by that, right. And that, in turn, helps students to be able to find other opportunities as well. In terms of links, so we do have resources at our Center for Civic Engagement website, which is cce.bard.edu, and there’s a resource link there, and then we also have resources as well on our OSUN website, osun.bard.edu. So those are—those are places that you that you can find some of these resources. FASKIANOS: Great. And we’ll send out after this a link to this webinar as well as with those URLs so that people—websites so people can go back and dig deeper. So I’m going to go next to David Kim’s written question. He’s an assistant professor at UCLA. Thank you for this discussion. I’d like to hear more about insights into community engagement on an international or global level. What are some best practices when faculty, communities, and students work across borders—international borders? How are they different from community engagement at a local or national level? MATEO: Thank you. So we have to be aware of, you know, what we can provide and also what is it—what are some of the needs or how it can be reciprocal. So a lot of listening and intentionality has to be brought into it because sometimes, you know, we can come in with our own mindset of, oh, this is how we do it and we do it well, and then you meet other counterparts and then they’re, like, well, but this is also another way of doing it. So there has to be a collaborative and reciprocal way or a mutual, respectful, reciprocal way of engaging, and, typically, you know, how we’ve done that is that we’ve partnered with other universities. We’ve also seen who are the community partners that are there in the international realm and how we can work around that, too. So I would say being intentional, making sure that you have capacity for what you are doing so, like, that you can deliver and also having a mutual reciprocal approach as well as active listening, and be willing to learn also from our international partners, too. FASKIANOS: I think, Brian, you mentioned that you were looking at LGBTQ+ issues in South Africa. Do you have any partnerships? Can you sort of give us examples of how you’re doing that? MATEO: Yes. That’s one of the research grants that we have provided to someone to be able to do that research. So the individual there is partnered with organizations and are conducting that research, and once that research is done we will make sure to publish it. FASKIANOS: Great. OK. I’m going to go next to Isaac Castellano from Boise State University. Our career center just landed a grant to pilot a program to pay students for their internship experiences. For us, a lot of students—our students have to work and this is another way beyond embedding experiential learning into their coursework. So I think he’s sharing more than asking a question, but maybe you have a reaction to that. MATEO: Yes, and thank you so much, Isaac. So yeah. So we piloted this a couple of years ago and it’s been very successful, and the way that it—the way that it works is it’s for summer internships and students can request up to $3,000 for any unpaid internship. And we have them submit an application as well as a supervisor form and an agreement of what the students will be doing for that organization. And then, in return, the students will write one to two reflection papers on their experience, and then when they come back to campus the next semester they get to present about their experience and what they’ve done for that internship. So that’s how we—that’s how we run our community action awards, and it’s been super successful. It has been able to provide access to students that wouldn’t otherwise be able to do an unpaid internship, and the students submit a budget of up to $2,000 and then we see how we can—how we can help fund that. So I highly encourage you to definitely do that pilot, and if you do want any other insight or how to be able to do that, I’m happy to share my email as well with Irina when she sends out the resources. FASKIANOS: Great. And Isaac has a follow-up. Where does the money come from, that paid summer program that you’re talking about? MATEO: It could—grants. We also try to fund—try to find funding and resources as well. So it comes through various sources, and so that’s how we try to support our students. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. OK. So the next question is another written question. And people can ask their questions, too, but this is from Chip Pitts at Stanford University. Have you encountered obstacles in this environment characterized by major demographic changes and increasing polarization, e.g., mandates against critical race theory, based on the perceived political nature, even leftist nature of, quote/unquote, “social justice” and “human rights” or “environmental community engagement efforts”? And if so, or for those in places where there are more conservative values, what have you seen or would you suggest to shore up and spur more courage and leadership among the reluctant or shy faculty and administrators and overcome and avoid such blockages? MATEO: Mmm hmm. Thank you. So you have to meet communities where they’re at, right, and making sure that they also understand that we’re here to work with them, too, and this is why active listening and making sure that there is a reciprocal approach to this is important. And it’s not—sometimes it can be fairly easy to be able to say, hey, we want to collaborate with you, and other times it can be extremely difficult and tenuous. But continuing to demonstrate and show the level of learning or how that community is continuously being engaged is something that’s very important because, in my opinion, I think that sometimes, you know, we have a hard time of showing all the great work that we’re doing, and in order for us to be able to partner and work more with community members we also have to show the research and demonstrate and be able to present this so people understand what we are trying to do. So there are times that it is challenging, and there are some things that will work with some communities and some things that will not. So where then are you able to then find what can work and how you can make it happen, and then from there be able to build up from there—from the ground up. So yeah, so there are some communities where you can do, like, one to ten things and then other communities that you can do one to three things and, hopefully, that you can start to do four or five, but then how do you still provide that access and education and equity as well. FASKIANOS: Brian, what would you say are the—in your opinion, the global issues students are most interested in? And, you know, if a college can only take on or faculty can only take on one issue that they’re trying to push, you know, what would be the one, or to drive a—foster more civic engagement? What do you think would be a viable and a good starting—steppingstone to sort of expand this into their community and both on campus and off? MATEO: Wow. That’s a great question, Irina. I would say that students are very interested in gender equity, LGBT. They’re also very interested in making sure that underrepresented populations are included in conversations, as well as awareness in disability. An all-encompassing issue that students are also passionate about because most of them experience this globally every day is climate change, and making sure that, you know, how we can engage students through there. So that—so out of everything that I mentioned, this also encompasses these issues as a major one, and Bard, through the Open Society University Network, is actually having a global teach-in, which is—you can find this in the Solve Climate by ’30 and I can send the link to Irina as well—where all colleges and universities can come in and do a global teach-in and as well get resources, and we’re providing opportunities for students around the world to also be able to receive opportunity to get engaged, too. So we’re doing this in March, and we’re trying to get a robust number of institutions to participate in this because climate doesn’t only affect, you know, our living environment, but it also affects students’ educational pursuits. Harvard conducted a study called Heat and Learning that showed that for every degree Fahrenheit that goes up student learning goes down by 1 percent. It’s also shown disparities that—you know, climate change also has, you know, a disproportionate effect on young people of color because of regions where people live in cold and hot environments, as well as disparities when it comes to gender. Women are more likely to be taken out of the classroom when there are climate change disasters to be caretakers, and we’re also seeing a rise in child marriages because of that, too. You know, it also—you also talk about sanitation when it comes to climate change and educational environments. You know, if you start to—if your building starts to get moldy and also if students start to get sick because of the infrastructure or it gets too hot, you’re going to see an increased rate of students showing up—not showing up and being absent or dropout rates as well. So climate change exacerbates or, as it’s called, a threat multiplier, and this is something that as higher education administrators we have to also make sure that we are—that we’re constantly thinking and showing how can we, based on students’ interests, can help to solve climate as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So if others have questions—Manuel, I don’t know if you had a follow-on. You said you would cede the floor but you can come back on. You can raise your hand or write—type your question in the Q&A box, or I could ask more. Just waiting to see if Manuel wanted to come back in. OK. There is a—oh, Manuel said his question was answered. OK. Great. So—sorry, I’m just looking—toggling a lot of things. All right. So my next question would be—you did talk about this earlier—you know, there has been a lot written about what is a college education worth, and I think this connection of the critical thinking and the internships and the experiential learning. But could you talk a little bit more about students’ educational performance and career path and how they can leverage these—you know, what they’re doing, civic engagement, into their future career plans? MATEO: Yes. Thank you. FASKIANOS: And then I have another random question. Mmm hmm. MATEO: Yes. So helping students to understand that some of the work that they do outside of a classroom could also translate both inside as well because when I have—when I see students when they’re thinking about their career path, they’re like, oh, but I’ve never done an internship before, or, oh, but I’ve never actually had a job here or there. But then when you start to look at the classes that they’re taking and the application piece in those courses, you can sort of say, yes, but you also in this course did storytelling of a community and also created a podcast. So this is also an application piece where you can add to your resume, too. So helping students to think and link experiential learning to application, and demonstrating that is definitely an added plus, and this is why a lot of these courses are also very popular and very highly rated for students because they’re starting—they start to see that they’re also gaining transferable skills while engaging in these courses, too, that they can then add to their resume and be able to speak to at an interview as well. Like, I’ll give you the example of the community needs assessment that the students that I work with conduct. You know, they can talk about research. They can talk about, you know, being able to work with communities. They also have to interview a leader in that community, whether that be a politician or a school leader or anyone. You know, so there are skills that they can then say here are some tangible outcomes as a result of this assignment, and that’s why experiential learning can also help when it comes to merging career paths for students. FASKIANOS: Great. So a few more questions in the chat. Jim Zaffiro, who is at Central College, has asked what recommendations would you have for incorporating civic engagement into a common first-year experience course? MATEO: Mmm hmm. Yes. So looking back at Astin’s model of input-environment-outputs, right, so we need to figure out, like, you know, how can we create a baseline for students to best understand what it means to be civically engaged and the environments piece of it. So what I would say, making sure that they understand the community they’re a part of, what are some of the issues and needs, providing reflection for them to talk about how they have been engaged, how do they see themselves as engaged citizens and providing opportunities for them to get exposure to working with community members and working outside of the community as well. So we do this starting from our orientational language and thinking, where we start to not only provide articles and readings on this but we’re also getting students to volunteer and get—and having students to think about how they want—how they want to be involved, and showing them a lot of the student-led initiatives that we offer that they can either get involved or start on their own. And then throughout the first year they also have what’s called the Citizen Science Program, which is a January term, where students start to see how science and citizenship come together and work together. And during that time, we also have our MLK Day of Engagement, which is a day for students to also go out and volunteer into the community and reflect on their volunteer work as well. So that’s kind of how we’ve embedded a lot of engagement for our first-years to making sure that we’re providing them with engagement, adding courses for them to think about what does it mean to be engaged in either a civic engagement course or experiential learning courses and opportunities throughout the year for them to be involved, which, ultimately, we were then promoting for them how they can—how they can apply for these community action awards and also for the summer, but also what are ways for them to get engaged through the broader OSUN network. FASKIANOS: Great. How has the pandemic exacerbated preexisting community needs? How have you at Bard deepened students’ civic engagement in order to help alleviate the pandemic-related effects that we are seeing in our communities? MATEO: Yes, and as we all know, when it comes to community-based work in civic engagement, you know, we all had to, you know, come indoors, and we had this notion that we had to be there to be able to engage with the community. So we developed—and this is also part of our civic engagement website—a tool kit on how to do engagement virtually, how to be able to do blended learning as well, and making sure that we still had a commitment to our community leaders. And our community partners also were able to come into our classes via Zoom and engage with students as well, and we helped students find virtual engagement, whether it be tutoring, whether it be, you know, helping to analyze something and sending it back. So these were some of the ways. But it did definitely create a halt, though we quickly found ways to not only build and provide resources but also pivot and making sure that we provide opportunities for students that were online and making sure that we showed a commitment to our partners as well. FASKIANOS: So John Dietrich at Bryant University asks for examples, more examples in practice of bringing experiential learning into the classroom, so if you could put some— MATEO: Yes. Yeah, so we have a course that’s called All Politics is Local and what we do in that—and what the faculty members do in that course is that they’re able to pair students with local internships in different government organizations, so not only are students learning about local government in the class but they’re actually interning at the same time in different local governments. Another example of a professor that teaches studio arts is a class called Portraits and Community where they get to talk to community members and identify the history of that community, also talk with Congress—with a member of Congress while painting these community members and learning their stories, learning how to tell their stories but using art as a way of engagement. Another example is being able to develop tool kits, so, for example, looking at, you know, if you’re a professor in biology or in chemistry and you have a local river or you have, you know, an ecosystem or environment, you know, how has that changed throughout the years and how can students create experiments and be able to then provide knowledge for local leaders or community members to see if there has been change that has been happening there? So I hope that this gives you some examples of community-based learning and education when it comes to doing it in the classroom. Podcasts have also been something that have been very important because students not only learn the skill on how to run a podcast and how to do a podcast, but then they also get to interview community members and do it—and be able to speak and provide the opportunity for storytelling as well. FASKIANOS: Can you talk a little bit about the role civic engagement plays in international students’ educational experience? I mean, a lot of campuses have international students, and what does it mean for them and what are they taking back to their countries? MATEO: Yeah, so working with the OSUN network I’ve learned a lot about what other campuses have been doing and how they do civic engagement, and at some campuses civic engagement is embedded from the beginning. They are taking courses, they have to graduate with a certain amount of hours to be able to get their degree, you know, and some institutions in the United States do that, some don’t per se, you know, so—and then also thinking about what—so for them also thinking about what does it mean to be engaged in their communities, and what are some of the work that they are doing as well? So civic engagement can look differently, so some of it can be tutoring. Some of it can be, you know, mostly youth engagement. A lot of it can be gender equity and working to raise awareness on gender issues. So there has been a great sense of education knowledge on my part on seeing how other institutions work on civic engagement. At the same time, it’s also great because we’re able to talk about civic engagement and develop that baseline and learn how we can grow together, and what are some things that they’re doing that we can do and vice versa? So that—so I would say that in some institutions globally, civic engagement is embedded from the beginning and students have to make sure that they are taking courses on engagement. Some of them have, like, first-year sophomore-, junior-, senior-level seminars on engagement, and then others, you have to have a requirement of graduation for a certain amount of hours. So that’s how, kind of, it’s worked. FASKIANOS: Brian, you talked about inputs and outputs and metrics, so have you measured how civic engagement, the programs that you’re doing are affecting students’ perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion? MATEO: Yes, we have, actually, and—I have this here in my notes—yes, and 89 percent of them say that it has created an awareness of social justice issues and it has also enhanced their learning. So we’re seeing that this is something that is showing and demonstrating that by engaging, and also at times engaging with difference, it has helped their learning. And over 90 percent of students say that they would continue to engage our—engage with arts and science courses or experiential courses as a result of that. FASKIANOS: Do you do that survey after each semester or is it at the end of the academic year? How are you doing that? MATEO: Yeah, so we do that survey at the end of each semester when it comes to faculty courses. When it comes to the engagement that students are doing outside of the classroom we also try to assess that, too, which I do midway and also at the end, and some students also do culminating projects, as well, that they are incorporating—at the end of their academic career they are talking about how civic engagement has helped them. So an example of that is—and this is the certificate in civic engagement that we’ve recently launched. You know, students will be able to apply for what’s called an engaged senior project grant that they can get funding to be able to add civic engagement into their final project too, so that’s—we’re measuring and seeing how many students are interested and want to be able to engage in that. So I would say all together we are doing—you know, and sometimes, you know, we capture a lot of data and sometimes, you know, so we try to make sure that we’re doing it as holistic as possible but we do it at the end, so at the end of each semester if a course qualifies as experiential learning, we are doing—so it’s a separate evaluation outside of the normal class evaluation, and then we start to see and look at the metrics and what students have learned and, like, now we can start to gather and tell stories behind, you know, what these courses are doing. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have a follow-up question from Manuel Montoya: How does experiential learning and community engagement avoid essentializing the communities you engage with? On a related note, how does one navigate who gets to represent community needs when working on issues of engagement? MATEO: Yeah, this is a very, very, very, like, a thin line. Right? And it comes, again, with mutual respect, reciprocity, active listening. Some of the time community partners come to us and say, hey, we have a need and then we evaluate it and see how we can help that need. Other times, faculty or even students are like, hey, here is something that we should be working on and then we do that. Right? So an example of that is the Bard Prison Initiative. A student came and said, hey, look, we should be working on this and then it became an institutional part of Bard and now it’s one of the largest prison education programs for incarcerated individuals across the nation. You know, so—and it takes a lot of reflecting and making sure that the community’s needs are also in the forefront, because we don’t want to usurp or take on, you know, or say, like, oh, this is ours now. No, this is “in collaboration with.” This is not a “we do this” per se. So that’s why we have developed the principles of equity, and I’ll share that, as well, with Irina so you can get a sense—that talks about this is, how can we make this equitable? How can we acknowledge and reflect on the work that we’re doing? How do we—how are we not making sure that we’re showing up and saying, like, oh, look, we’re here, as like, you know, how—saving a community. But no, we’re here to help enhance a community while they’re enhancing our learning and providing assistance for us as well. So it has to be reciprocal in order for you to maintain a deep and sustained relationship. FASKIANOS: Great. And I’m just going to flag—I don’t know if people are looking at the Q&A but Chip Pitts was building on what you talked about the importance of climate as a health issue. There’s a study that’s worth looking at, www.thelancet.com/countdown-health-climate, so you can look there. MATEO: Thank you, Chip. FASKIANOS: We do have another comment. I’ve benefited immensely from this discussion, bringing to fore the relevance of community engagement for students and faculty. I’m seeing new areas I can suggest for experiential learning to my institution. Terrific. That’s great. MATEO: Thank you. I’m glad. FASKIANOS: Really appreciate that from NenpoSarah Gowon—and the last name is cut off. All right, so I wanted to ask you about—in your view, do you—I mean, you’ve been doing this for a long time. What do you see as the challenges that you’ve faced in sort of bringing this along in your community? And what have been the unexpected surprises and the receptivity to this approach of experiential learning and critical thinking, et cetera? MATEO: Thank you. That’s an excellent question and here’s reflection, you know, as we talk about experiential learning. Right? So I would say that my—so I was—so I’m fortunate enough to be able to work with the OSUN network to be in—and become a lifelong learner myself and learn how other institutions have been doing this. And going back to what Manuel was alluding to is that when something is new it’s hard to bring in change. Right? So when asking people, hey, do you want to teach a course on experiential learning or asking a student, hey, do you want to also do this type of civic engagement work, what sometimes is heard is, oh, this is more work; this is going to be too hard. Right? So how do you show those benefits, right? And in the beginning, initial stages, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But once you have one or two or a group of people doing it and talking about how great it is and how their students are engaged—like, in some of the assessments students are asking for more time in those courses because they’re like, this is so—this is great, that we want to make sure that we meet more or we want to make sure we have more time to do—to engage in these courses, so now we’re seeing that students want more of these courses and not just of the courses in general but maybe adding a third section instead of just meeting two times a week per se. You know? And then—and funding can also be something that’s very—that can be challenging because, you know, you need to make this a commitment in saying, like, yes, we are going to fund, let’s say, for example, thirty student internships over the summer because we believe that this is going to help engage their learning. We believe this is going to create an opportunity for them moving forward. Right? So—and researcher—sometimes, you know, if you’re in a metropolitan area, it’s easier for you to say, yeah, we’re going to go to a museum or we’re going to go to this community because we can all just take public transportation. But if you’re in a rural environment, you’re relying on vans and buses and so on and so forth, and that can sometimes run you $500 to $2,000 per visit, you know. So you also have to think really strategically and think smarter, not harder, and how are you engaging? Right? Because one of the detriments is that great, we went to one community once and as a result of that, like, what would happen—because, again, it goes back to sustained, deepening relationships, so those are some of the things that can be some of the challenges. Some of the breakthroughs for me is when you start to see the learning connect, when a student’s like, you know—you know, I once had someone from the New York City’s mayor’s office come speak to the students in my class and it really warmed my heart when a student was like, I didn’t know that I had access; I didn’t realize that someone like me could be able to speak to someone from the mayor’s office. And I’m like, but you’re also a citizen of New York City and this is what—you know, so there was that disconnect for the student; it was like, wow, I can do this. Another student wants to—is pursuing, you know, a degree in political science and stuff like that. You know, or even when a student did a research project on the tolls of the taxi in New York City because that student felt they had a personal connection to this, and then they were able to see how, you know, some stories were similar to what—to the narrative that they had and be able to then share some possible solutions and show that they can also be active citizens and engage and be empowered. That is the other piece that, like, once you see that people start to be empowered, they want to continue doing this work and it’s, you know, my job and the job of others at other higher education institutions to continue to empower and continue to provide opportunities and shed light, you know, because some of this is also exposure. You know, thinking about outputs; it’s like sometimes you know what you know, but then when you meet a professor that’s doing some type of research that you’re just like, wow, this is so intriguing; I never knew I could do this. That’s something that is also very influential for the student. And I’ll give you a personal anecdote about myself. I myself have been an experiential learner. You know, I went to college and I got my master’s in higher ed administration, but all of a sudden I’m working with international communities, I’m also part of the Council on Foreign Relations doing research on climate, and teaching experiential learning. And that is as evidenced by Bard being a private college for public interest, and also enabling us to be a part of the system that we ourselves can be experiential learners and be able to do different things and sometimes, you know, like, not necessarily shift our careers but find new interests, because this is what we want to do and develop the system that can be reciprocal for our students, faculty, staff, and community. FASKIANOS: Well, with that, we’ve reached the end of our hour. Brain Mateo, thank you very much for sharing what you’re doing at Bard, your stories, and we will circulate to everybody the resources that you mentioned, and, you know, just want to thank you for your dedication. And to everybody on this call, I mean, it really has brought home for me the important work that you all are doing to raise the next generation of leaders, and we need them and you all are role models for young adults who, as somebody said, their parents have never gone to college and really need some guidance on next steps. So thank you to you, Brian, and to everybody on this call for what you’re doing in your communities. We will share Brian’s email address and you can follow him on Twitter at @brianmateo. So I encourage you to follow him there. Our next Higher Education Webinar will be in November, and we will send the topic speaker and date under separate cover. And so I encourage you to follow us, @CFR_Academic on Twitter, and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for more resources. And of course, as always, you can email [email protected], with suggestions of future topics or speakers you would like to hear from. We’re trying to be a resource for all of you and support you and the important work that you are doing. So Brian, thank you again. MATEO: Thank you. And I’ll make sure to share resources with you. Have a great day. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. (END)
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    Academic Webinar: Constraining Putin’s Russia
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    Thomas Graham, distinguished fellow at CFR, leads a conversation on constraining Putin’s Russia. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s meeting is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website CFR.org/academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Thomas Graham with us to talk about Putin’s Russia. Mr. Graham is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior advisor at Kissinger Associates, where he focuses on Russian and Eurasian affairs. He is cofounder of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies program at Yale University, and is also a research fellow at the MacMillan Center at Yale. He previously served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007, and director for Russian affairs from 2002 to 2004. His résumé is very distinguished. I will just also say that he is a U.S. diplomat who served two tours of duty in Moscow, where he worked on political affairs. So, Mr. Graham, thanks very much for being with us today. I thought you could get us started by talking about the primary interests at stake in U.S.-Russia relations. GRAHAM: Great. Thank you very much, Irina, for that introduction, and it’s a real pleasure to be with all of you here today. I want to start with three broad points that will frame the rest of our discussion. The first is that the problem that the United States faces is not simply with Putin; it is with Russia more generally speaking. The last seven years of very difficult, challenging adversarial relationship is really not an aberration in the history of the relationship between our two countries. In fact, from the moment the United States emerged as a major power on the global stage at the very end of the nineteenth century, we have had a rivalry with Russia. And the issues that divide us today are the ones that divided us 125, 150 years ago: We have opposing worldviews. We have different geopolitical interests. And clearly, we have different systems of values that inform our domestic political systems. This rivalry has intensified, ebbed and flowed during the twentieth century. But the effort we made at partnership after the breakup of the Soviet Union up until 2014, marked by the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine, is really the aberration in the history of relations between our two countries and one that was founded very much on the fact that Russia endured a period of strategic weakness. So the issue we have to deal with Russia and how we’re going to deal with Russia well into the future, even after Putin departs—which he will, obviously, at some point, if only for biological reasons. The second point that I would make is that Russia is not going to go away. We hear a lot in the public debate in the United States about Russian decline, about the population/demographic problems it has, about its stagnating economy, and so forth. None of this is necessarily untrue, but I think it tends to exaggerate the problems that Russia faces. It ignores the problems that all other major countries face—including China, the United States, and many major European countries—but it also overlooks the very great strengths that Russia has had for decades that are going to make it a player and an important player on the global stage, nuclear weapons to begin with. We should never forget that Russia remains the only country that can destroy the United States as a functioning society in thirty minutes. Russia has the largest natural endowment of any country in the world, a country that can pretend to self-sufficiency and, in fact, is better placed than most other countries to deal with a breakdown in globalization in the decades to come if that, indeed, happens. It has a veto on the U.N. Security Council, which makes it an important player on issues of importance to the United States, and it has a talented population that has fostered a scientific community that, for example, is capable of taking advances in technology and developing the military applications from them. Just look at the strength that Russia exhibits in cyberspace, for example—again, a major challenge for the United States. So Russia is going to continue to be a challenge. One other thing that I should have mentioned here is that the Russian state throughout history and Putin’s Russia today has demonstrated a keen ability to mobilize the resources of their own society for state purposes. So even if in relative terms they may be weaker and weakening vis-à-vis China and the United States, in some ways that political will, that ability to mobilize, allows Russia to play a much larger role than mere indicators of its economic size and population size would suggest. Now, Russia clashes with the United States across a whole range of issues, and as I said that is going to continue for some time. And this brings me to my third point: How we should think about American foreign policy, what our guidelines should be in dealing with Russia. And here there are three, I think, key elements to this. First, the United States needs to preserve strategic stability. We need to have that nuclear balance between us (sic) and the United States. This is an existential question. And as I already mentioned, Russia does have a tremendous nuclear capability. Second, the United States should seek to manage its competition with Russia responsibly. We want to avoid or reduce the risk of a direct military conflict that could escalate to the nuclear level. This is—also, I think, recognizes that the United States is not going to be able to compel Russia to capitulate on issues that are of interest to us, nor are we going to be able to radically change the way they think about their own national interests. So it’s a competitive relationship and we need to manage that responsibly. And finally, given the complex world that we live in today—the very real transnational challenges we face: climate change, pandemic diseases, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—the United States should seek, to the extent possible, ways to cooperate with Russia in dealing with these issues. We should recognize that Russia is not necessarily the only player nor necessarily the most important player in dealing with these challenges, but it does have a role to play along with other major powers in handling these transnational issues. So those, I think, are three sort of broad points that help set the stage for our discussion. Now let me turn sort of very briefly to the questions about U.S. policy. How do we deal with this Russia? What are sort of—the way we should think about American foreign policy? And here the point I would make is that we should think of the policy in terms of what I would call the three Ds: defense, deterrence, and dialogue. Now, defense and deterrence in many ways go together. If you have a very good defense, if you demonstrate an ability and willingness to defend your interests effectively and deliberately, then you tend to deter another power. They have less reason to want to attack you. But if deterrence fails, you very much need to be able to defend yourself—to disrupt Russian operations in cyberspace, for example, or disrupt military operations by the Russians that you find problematic in some way. So defense and deterrence go together, and we need to think about that. Now, you build these elements on a number of other things that we’re all familiar with. A strong military—strong, capable military—is, obviously, an element of both defense and deterrence, and something that we have managed quite well in the past and I imagine will manage quite well going into the future. Cyber defenses are also an important element of constraining Russia on the global stage. Now, here the United States really has much room for improvement. We built our internet, our cyberspace largely for the accessibility, the ability to pass information from one entity to another, and we spent much less attention to the security of that system. As cyberspace has become more important to our socioeconomic and political lives, we really need to devote much more attention to cybersecurity, hardening our commuter—computer networks, for example, making sure we have strong passwords and so forth, something that I think we now recognize but we need to put a much greater effort into doing that. Third area of defense and deterrence is strong alliances. When we’re thinking about Russia, this is clearly the transatlantic community, NATO, our relations with our other European partners. And here, we need to develop the types of military/defense cooperation that we need to demonstrate quite clearly that the United States, along with the rest of the NATO allies, is ready and prepared to meet its Article 5 guarantees to collective security should the Russians do something that is untoward in our neighborhood. And then, finally, and I think of increasing importance, is the question of national unity. National unity, national resilience, has really become a key element in defense and deterrence at this point. We need to demonstrate to the Russians that we have sufficient national unity to clearly identify what our interests are and pursue them on the international stage. One of Putin’s close colleagues several years ago said that what Putin is doing is messing with the Americans’ minds, and certainly we’ve seen that over the past several years. Putin hasn’t sowed the discord in the United States, but he certainly has tried to exploit it for Russian purposes. And this is something that he’s going to concentrate on in the future, in part because he recognizes the dangers of military confrontation with the United States. So great-power competition, from the Kremlin’s standpoint, is going to move very, very quickly from the kinetic realm to the cyber realm, and we need to be able to deal with that. So building national unity at home, overcoming our polarization, is really perhaps one of the key steps in constraining Russia on the global stage. And then, finally, some very brief words about dialogue. We tend to downplay this in our national discussion. Many believe that diplomatic relations are—should not be branded as a reward for bad behavior. But I think if you look at this objectively, you’ll see that diplomatic relations are very important as a way of defending and advancing our national concerns. It’s a way that we can convey clearly to the Russians what our expectations are, what our goals are, what our redlines are, and the responses that we’re capable of taking if Russia crosses them. At the same time, we can learn from the Russians what their goals are, what their motivations are, what their redlines are, and we can factor that into our own policy. This is a major element of managing the competition between our two countries responsibly. You’ll see that we have begun to engage in negotiations and diplomacy with the Russians much more under President Biden than we did under President Trump. We’ve already launched strategic stability talks with the aim of coming up with a new concept of strategic stability that’s adequate to the strategic environment of the present day and the near future. We’ve engaged in cybersecurity talks, which my understanding is have, in fact, had some success over the past several weeks. Where we, I think, have lagged is in the discussion of regional issues—Europe, Ukraine, the Middle East, for example. These are areas where there is still potential for conflict, and the United States and Russia ought to be sitting down and talking about these issues on a regular basis. So three Ds—defense, deterrence, and diplomacy or dialogue—are the ways that we should be thinking about our relationship with Russia. And obviously, we’ll need to adjust each of these three elements to the specific issue at hand, whether it be in Europe, whether it be in the nuclear realm, cyberspace, and so forth. Now, with that as a way—by way of introduction, I am very pleased to entertain your questions. FASKIANOS: Tom, thanks very much for that terrific overview and analysis. We’re going to go to all of you now for your questions. You can either raise your hand by clicking on the icon, and I will call on you, and you can tell us what institution you are with; or you can type your question in the Q&A box, although if you want to ask it you can raise your hand. We encourage that. And if you’re typing your question, please let us know what college or university you’re with. So I’m going to take the first raised-hand question from Babak Salimitari. And unmute yourself. Q: Can you guys hear me? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hello. I’m a third-year UCI student, economics. I have a question. I’m going to sound a bit like Sean Hannity here, so please forgive me, but I have a question about that Nord Stream 2 pipeline that you constantly hear on the news, and it just doesn’t make that much sense for me of why this pipeline was allowed to be completed into the heart of Europe considering Russia’s strength with natural gases and the leverage that they have over Europe with that pipeline. Why was that allowed to be completed? GRAHAM: Well, I think from the standpoint of the Biden administration this was a matter of what we call alliance management. Germany is clearly a key ally for the United States in Europe, and the Germans were very committed to the completion of that pipeline, starting with Chancellor Angela Merkel down through I think both the leading political parties and the German business community. So I think they made the decision for that. But let me step back because I’d like to challenge a lot of the assumptions about the Nord Stream 2 project here in the United States, which I think misconceive it, misframe the question, and tend to exaggerate the dangers that is poses. The first point that I would make is that Europe now and in the future will have and need Russian gas. It’s taken a substantial amount in the past—in the past decades, and even as it moves forward towards a green revolution it will continue to take considerable amounts of Russian gas. It can’t do without that gas. So the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, contrary to what you hear in the United States or at the U.S. Congress, I don’t think poses an additional threat to Europe’s energy security, no larger than the threat that was posed before that pipeline was completed. The Europeans, I think are aware of the problems that that poses, and they’ve taken steps over the past several years to integrate the gas—the gas distribution network in Europe, to build facilities to import liquified natural gas, all as a way of eroding the leverage that Gazprom might have had over energy markets in Europe. And that has been quite successful over the past—over the past several years. Now, I think, you know, the other issue that comes up in the discussion in the United States is Ukraine, because Nord Stream 2 clearly provides Russia with a way to import the gas into Europe and bypass Ukraine at the—at the same time. And Ukraine is going to suffer a significant loss in budgetary revenue because of the decline in transit fees that it gets from the transportation of Russian gas across its territory. You know, that is a problem, but there are ways of dealing with that: by helping Ukraine fill the budgetary gap, by helping Ukraine transition away from a reliance on gas to other forms of energy, of helping Ukraine develop the green-energy resources that will make it a much more important partner in the European energy equation than it is now. And then finally, you know, it strikes me as somewhat wrongheaded for Ukraine to put itself in a position where it is reliant on a country that is clearly a belligerent for a significant part of its federal revenue. So we need to think hard with the Ukrainians about how they deal with this issue, how they wean themselves off Russian transit fees, and then I think we have a situation where we can help Ukraine, we can manage the energy-security situation in Europe, we can reduce any leverage that Russia might have, and that Nord Stream 2 really doesn’t pose a significant risk to the United States or our European allies over the long run. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We’re going to take the next question from the written queue from Kenneth Mayers, who’s at St Francis—sorry, that just popped away; oh, sorry—St. Francis College. Thinking beyond this triangular framework, what pathways and possibilities can be envisioned for a more positive dimension of working together in mutually, even globally, beneficial ways? GRAHAM: What triangular relationship are we talking about? FASKIANOS: His—thinking beyond this triangular framework and— GRAHAM: Oh, OK. So I think it’s defense, deterrence, and diplomacy is the— FASKIANOS: Correct. GRAHAM: OK. Can you repeat the final part of the question, then? FASKIANOS: What pathways and possibilities can be envisioned for a more positive dimension of working together in mutually beneficial ways? GRAHAM: Well, there are a number of areas in which we can work together beneficially. If you think about proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, for example, the United States and Russia over the past two decades have played a major role in both securing weapons that were located in Russia, but also in securing highly-enriched uranium that was in Soviet-designed reactors throughout the former Soviet space. We have taken a lead together in setting down rules and procedures that reduce the risk of nuclear material—fissile material getting into the hands of terrorist organizations. And we have played a role together in trying to constrain the Iranian nuclear program. Russia played an instrumental role in the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that we signed in 2015 that the Trump administration walked away with, but they will continue to play a role in constraining Iranians’ nuclear ambitions going forward. And we’ve also worked in a cooperative fashion in dealing with the North Korean nuclear program. So there are areas in nonproliferation where the two countries can work together. On climate change, I mean, I think the big challenge for the United States is actually persuading Russia that climate change is a significant threat to their own security. They’re slowly beginning to change that view, but as they come around to recognizing that they have to deal with climate change there are a number of areas where the two countries can cooperate. One of the things that climate is doing is melting the permafrost. That is destabilizing the foundation of much of Russia’s energy infrastructure in areas where gas and oil are extracted for export abroad. The United States has dome technologies that the Russians might find of interest in stabilizing that infrastructure. They suffer from problems of Siberian fires—peat-bog fires, forest fires—an area that, obviously, is of concern to the United States as well. And there may be room for cooperation there, two. And then, finally, you know, the United States and Russia have two of the leading scientific communities in the entire world. We ought to be working together on ways that we can help mitigate the consequences of climate change going forward. So I see an array of areas where the two countries could cooperate, but that will depend on good diplomacy in Washington and a receptivity on the part of the Russians which we haven’t seen quite yet. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let’s go next to Jeffrey Ko. You can unmute yourself. Thank you. Q: Hi. So I’m Jeffrey Ko. I’m an international relations master’s student at Carnegie Mellon. And my question has to deal with these private military forces, and especially the Wagner Group. And so I would like to know, you know, how does this play into our security strategy regarding Russia in countries that have seen proxy warfare? And how does this—how difficult will it be to engage with Russia either diplomatically or militarily on the use of these gray-zone tactics, and specifically utilizing the Wagner Group as an informal branch of Russia’s military? GRAHAM: Well, look, I mean, I do think that we need, one, to sit down and have a discussion with Russia about the use of these private military forces, particularly the Wagner firm, which has played a significant role in a number of conflicts across the globe in the Middle East, Africa, and in Latin America. But we also ought to help the countries that are of interest to us deal with the problems that the Wagner Group causes. You know, the United States had to deal with the Wagner Group in Syria during the Syrian civil war. You know, despite the fact that we had a deconfliction exercise with the Russians at that point, tried to prevent military conflicts between our two militaries operating in close proximity, when the Wagner forces violated those strictures and actually began to attack a U.S. facility, we had no hesitation about using the force that we had to basically obliterate that enemy. And the Wagner Group suffered casualties numbering in the hundreds, one to two hundred. I think the Russians got the message about that, that you don’t—you don’t mess with the United States military, certainly not while using a private military company like Wagner. You know, in places like Libya, where Wagner is quite active, I think the United States needs a major diplomatic effort to try to defuse the Libyan crisis. And part of the solution to that would be negotiating an agreement that calls for the withdrawal of all foreign military forces and certainly private military groups from Libyan territory, and lean on the Russians to carry that through. In any event, you know, this is not going to be an easy issue to resolve. I think we deal with this by—country by country, and we focus our attention on those countries where our national interests are greatest. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Jill Dougherty, who’s at Georgetown University. The Putin administration appears to be hardening its control of Russia’s society with the purpose of keeping Putin in power at least until 2036. Most recent example is the Duma elections that just took place. Will this crackdown domestically affect or damage U.S.-Russia relations? GRAHAM: Thank you, Jill. Always a good question and always a difficult question to answer. You know, I think the issue here is the extent to which the Biden administration wants to make the domestic political situation in Russia a key item on its agenda with Russia over the next—over the next few years. You know, my impression from the conversations I’ve had with people in the administration—in and around the administration is that President Biden is not going to focus on this. You know, his focus really is going to be China, and what he wants to do is maintain something of a status quo in the relationship with Russia. You will notice that the second round of sanctions that the United States levied with regard to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, something that was mandated by U.S. law, were actually quite mild—much less extreme, much less punitive than the legislation allowed—I think a signal that the Biden administration was not going to let domestic political issues in Russia overwhelm the agenda that the United States has, which is going to be focused on strategic stability, cyber issues, and so forth. So my immediate reaction is that the Duma election is really not going to have a dramatic impact on the state of the relationship between our two countries. We accept the fact that Russia is an authoritarian system. It is becoming more authoritarian. We will continue to try to find ways to support those elements of civil society we can, but always being careful not to do it in ways that causes the Russian government to crack down even harder on those individuals. This is a very sort of difficult needle to thread for the United States, but I think that’s the way we’ll go and you won’t see this as a major impediment to the improvement of relations—which, as we all know, are at a very low level at this point in any event. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Let’s go next to Sujay Utkarsh. Q: Hi, yeah. Can you hear me? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Awesome. So, regarding the issue about cyber warfare, I was wondering if you can go into more detail about what advantages the Russians have in cyberspace and what the United States can do to compete with those advantages. GRAHAM: A good question and a difficult question for people outside the government to answer, since we’re not privy to all the information about Russian cyber capabilities nor are we privy to the information about American cyber capabilities. Both countries cloak those programs in a great deal of secrecy. You know, it seemed to me that one of the advantages that perhaps Russia has is that it’s a much more closed society than the United States. Now, I’m thinking simply in terms of the way societies can be disrupted through cyberspace. We’re a much more open society. It’s easier to access our internet. We are—just as I mentioned before, we are a polarized society right now. That allows Russia many avenues into our domestic political system in order to exacerbate the tensions between various elements in our society. The United States can’t reply in the same way in dealing with Russia. You know, second, Russia, in building its own internet, its own cyberspace, has paid much more attention to security than the United States has. So, you know, I would presume that its computer systems are somewhat harder to penetrate than American systems are at this point, although another factor to take into account here is that much of the initial effort in building up cyberspace—the Web, the computer networks—in Russia was built with American technology. You know, the Googles, the Intels, and others played an instrumental role in providing those types of—that type of equipment to the Russians. So I wouldn’t exaggerate how much stronger they are there. And then, finally, I think what is probably one of the strengths, if you want to call it that, is that Russia is probably a little more risk-prone in using its cyber tools than the United States is at this point, in part because we think as a society we’re more vulnerable. And that does give Russia a slight advantage. That said, this shouldn’t be a problem that’s beyond the capability of the United States to manage if we put our minds to it. We have done a lot more over the past several years. We are getting better at this. And I think we’ll continue to improve in time and with the appropriate programs, the appropriate education of American society. FASKIANOS: Thank you. The next question is a written one from Kim-Leigh Tursi, a third-year undergraduate at Temple University. Where do you see Russia in relation to the rise of China, and how does that affect how the U.S. might approach foreign policy toward Russia? GRAHAM: Well, you know, that’s an important question, obviously one that a lot of people have focused on recently. You know, Russia and China have developed a very close working strategic relationship over the—over the past several years, but I think we should note that the Russian effort to rebuild its relations with China go back to the late Soviet period to overcome the disadvantages that then the Soviet Union felt they had because of the poor relationship with China and the ability of the United States to exploit that relationship to Moscow’s detriment. So relations have been improving for the past twenty-five, thirty years; obviously, a dramatic acceleration in that improvement after 2014 and the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West. Now, there are a number of reasons for this alignment at this point. One, the two countries do share at a very general level a basic view of for—a basic dislike of what they see as American ambitions to dominate the global—the global security and economic environment. They don’t like what they consider to be American hegemonic goals. Second, the economies seem to be complementary at this point. Russia does have a wealth of natural resources that the Chinese need to fuel their robust economic growth. You have similar domestic political systems. And all of this, I think, is reinforced by what appears to be a very good personal relationship between President Putin and President Xi Jinping. These two leaders have met dozens of times over the past five to seven years and have maintained, I think, very robust contact even during the—during the pandemic. So there are very good strategic reasons why these two countries enjoy good relations. They are going to step those up in the near term. The Russians are continuing to provide the Chinese with significant sophisticated military equipment. They’ve also undertaken to help the Chinese build an early warning system for ballistic missiles, and when that’s completed it will make China only the third country in the world to have such a system along with Russia and the United States. Now, I would argue that this strategic alignment does pose something of a challenge to the United States. If you look at American foreign policy or American foreign policy tradition, one of the principles that has guided the United States since the end of the nineteenth century, certainly throughout the twentieth century, was that we needed to prevent the—any hostile country or coalition of hostile countries from dominating areas of great strategic importance, principally Europe, East Asia, and more recently the Middle East. A Russian-Chinese strategic alignment certainly increases the chances of China dominating East Asia. Depending on how close that relationship grows, it also could have significant impact on Europe and the way Europe relates to this Russian-Chinese bloc, and therefore to the United States as a whole. So we should have an interest in trying to sort of attenuate the relationship between the two countries. At a minimum, we shouldn’t be pursuing a set of policies that would push Russia closer to China. Second, I think we ought to try to normalize our diplomatic relationship with the Russians. Not that we’re necessarily going to agree on a—on a range of issues at this point, but we need to give the Russians a sense that they have other strategic options than China going forward—something that would, I think, enhance their bargaining position with the Chinese going forward and would complicate China’s own strategic calculus, which would be to our advantage. I think we also should play on Russia’s concerns about strategic autonomy, this idea that Russia needs to be an independent great power on the global stage, that it doesn’t want to be the junior partner or overly dependent on any one country as a way, again, of attenuating the tie with China. The one thing that I don’t think we can do is drive a wedge between those two countries, in part because of the strategic reasons that I’ve mentioned already that bring these two countries together. And any very crude, I think, effort to do that will actually be counterproductive. Both Beijing and Moscow will see through that, quite clearly, and that will only lead to a closing of the ranks between those two countries, which as I said is a strategic challenge for the United States going forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Holli Semetko, who’s at Emory University. Polarization is something we must overcome, as you said, but those of us working on social media have some evidence to suggest that social media has fostered political polarization in the U.S. Yuri Milner, a Russian Israeli entrepreneur, invested in an early round of Facebook funding with help from VTB, a Russian state-controlled bank, as well as his investment in Jared Kushner’s real estate firm. What is the level of FDI from Russia in the U.S. and do you see it as a threat to national security? GRAHAM: Well, look, I mean, the actual level of Russian FDI in the United States is quite small. You know, you have some few, I think, good examples of it—the one that you’ve mentioned with Yuri Milner, for example. There was some investment in a steel factory some years ago. But by and large, there hasn’t been a significant amount of Russian foreign direct investment in the United States. I think our growing concerns about Russia have made us even more leery of allowing Russian investment, particularly in sectors that we consider critical to American national security. So I’m not deeply concerned about that going forward. I think we probably face a much greater challenge from the Chinese in that regard. Of course, you’ve seen efforts by the United States to deal more harshly or look more closely at Chinese investment in the United States over the past several years. Let me just make one sort of final point on social media since it’s come up. You know, Russia is a problem. We need to pay attention to Russia in that space. But again, I don’t think that we should exaggerate Russia’s influence, nor should we focus simply on Russia as the problem in this area. There is a major problem with disinformation in social media in the United States, much of that propagated by sources within the United States, but there are a host of other countries that also will try to affect U.S. public opinion through their intrusions into American social media. You know, given our concerns about First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and so forth, you know, I think we have problems in sort of really clamping down on this. But what we need to do, certainly, is better educate the American public about how to deal with the information that crosses their electronic devices day in and day out. Americans need to be aware of how they can be manipulated, and they need to understand and know where they can go to find reliable information. Again, given the political polarization in our country today, this is a very real challenge and difficult one. But I think if we think long term about this problem, the key really is educating the American public. An educated American public is going to be the best defense against foreign countries, other hostile forces trying to use social media to undermine our national unity and exacerbate the politics of our country. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Eoin Wilson-Manion, who’s raised his hand. Q: Hello. Can you hear me now? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Awesome. Well, thank you. I just wanted to ask if you could touch a little bit more on Russia’s presence in Syria and what that means for U.S. interests in Syria and I guess the larger Middle East. I’m Eoin from Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks very much. GRAHAM: Well, you know, the Russians entered Syria in 2015 militarily largely to save Assad from what they thought was imminent overthrow by what they considered a radical Islamic force, a group of terrorists that they thought would challenge Russian interests not only in Syria but would fuel extremist forces inside Russia itself, particularly in the North Caucasus but farther afield than that—even into Moscow, into areas that were Muslim-dominated inside Russia itself. So they had very good national security reasons for going in. Those ran—I mean, the Russian presence in Syria clearly has run counter to what the United States was trying to do at that point since we clearly aligned against Assad in favor of what we considered moderate reformist forces that were seeking a more sort of democratic future for Syria as part of this broader Arab Spring at that time. So there was a clear conflict at that point. You know, subsequently and in parallel with its continued presence in Syria, the Russians have extended their diplomatic—their diplomatic effort to other countries in the region. Russia enjoys a fairly robust diplomatic relationship with Israel, for example, that has been grounded in counterterrorism cooperation, for example. They have a sort of strange relationship, largely positive, with Turkey that they have pursued over the past several years. We know of the ties that they’ve had in Tehran, in Iran for some time. They have reached out to the Saudis and the Saudis have bought some military equipment from them. We see them in Egypt and Libya, for example. So they’re a growing presence, a growing diplomatic presence in the Middle East, and this does pose some problems for the United States. From the middle of the 1970s onward, one of the basic thrusts of American foreign policy was to limit the role the Russians played in the Middle East. We sidelined them in the negotiations between the Arabs and the Israelis in the 1970s and in the 1980s. We limited their diplomatic contacts to countries that we considered critical partners and allies in that part of the world. Now I think the geopolitical situation has changed. Our own interest in the Middle East has diminished over time, in part because of the fracking revolution here in the United States. Gas and oil, we’ve got close to being independent in that area. We’re not as dependent on the Middle East as we once were for energy sources. And also, as, you know, the Biden administration has been clear, we do want to pivot away from the Middle East and Europe to focus more of our energies on what we see as the rising and continuing strategic challenge posed by China. So I think that means that going forward the United States is going to have to deal with Russia in a different fashion in the Middle East than in the past. We’re going to have to recognize them as a continuing presence. We’re not going to be able to push them out, in part because we’re not prepared to devote the resources to it. We have countries that are still important to us—Saudi Arabia, Israel for example—that do want a Russian presence in the Middle East. And so what we ought to do, it seems to me, is to begin that discussion about how we’re going to manage the rivalry in the Middle East. Now, it’s not all simply competition. There are areas for cooperation. We can cooperate in dealing with Iran, for example, the Iran nuclear dossier, as we have had in the past. Neither country has an interest in Iran developing nuclear weapons. Second, I think the two countries also would like to see a Middle East that’s not dominated by a single regional power. So despite the fact that the Russians have worked together quite closely with the Iranians in Syria, they don’t share Iranian ambitions elsewhere in the Middle East. And if you look at the diplomatic ties that the Russians have nurtured over the past with Turkey, with Israel, Saudi Arabia for example, none of these are friends of Iran, to put it mildly. So we can talk, I think, to the Russians of how our—you know, we can conduct ourselves so as to foster the development of a regional equilibrium in the Middle East that tends to stabilize that region, makes it less of a threat to either country, less of a threat to America’s European allies, and use this as a basis for, again, sort of not escalating the tension in the region but moderating it in some ways that works to the long-term advantage of the United States. FASKIANOS: Next question from Michael Strmiska, who’s a professor at Orange County Community College in New York state. Do you see any hope of persuading Russia to abandon its occupation of Crimea in the near term? Or do you think this is like the occupation of the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia after World War II, where a very long timespan was needed before any liberation was realistically possible? GRAHAM: Well, I guess my answer to those two questions would be yes and no, or no and yes. On Crimea, you know, I see no sort of near-term scenario that would lead to the Russians agreeing to the return of Crimea to Ukraine. Quite the contrary, Russia has taken steps since 2014 they continue at this point to further integrate Crimea into the Russian Federation politically, economically, socially, and so forth. The Russians have also built up their military presence in Crimea as a way of enhancing their domination or their influence in the greater Black Sea region. So I see no set of circumstances that would change that, certainly not in the—in the near term. And I think, you know, the Ukrainian effort to focus attention on Crimea is not going to, in fact, gain a great deal of traction with Europe nor with the United States going forward, though we will maintain the principled position of not recognizing Russia’s incorporation or annexation of Crimea. You know, I don’t think that the Crimean and Baltic situations are necessarily analogous. You know, in the Baltic states there was a significant indigenous element, governments in exile, that supported the independence of those countries. There was a fulcrum that the United States or a lever that the United States could use over time to continue pressure on the Soviets that eventually led to the independence of those countries as the Soviet Union broke down and ultimately collapsed at the end of the 1980s into 1991. I don’t see any significant indigenous element in Crimea nor a movement of inhabitants of Crimea outside Crimea that wants Crimea to be returned to Ukraine. I think we need to remember that a significant part of the population in Ukraine is Russian military, retired Russian military, that feels quite comfortable in—within the Russian Federation at this point. So if I were being quite frank about this, although I think the United States should maintain its principled position and not recognize annexation of Crimea, I don’t see anything over the long term, barring the collapse of Russia itself, that will change that situation and see Ukraine (sic; Crimea) reincorporated into the Ukrainian state. FASKIANOS: So there are a couple questions in the chat about Russia’s economy: What is their economy like today? And what are the effects of the sanctions? And from Steve Shinkel at the Naval War College: How do you assess the tie between Russia’s economy and being able to continue to modernize its military and ensure a stable economy? And will economic factors and Russia’s demographic challenges be a future constraining factor? So if you could— GRAHAM: Yeah. No, no, just take the economy. Obviously, a big issue, and it will be a constraining factor. I mean, the Russian economy is stagnating and it has for some—for some time. They enjoyed—the Russian economy enjoyed a very rapid period of growth during President Putin’s first presidential—two presidential terms in the 2000s, but since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Russia has run into very difficult economic times. In fact, it’s never really recovered from that crisis. If you look at the past ten years, barely any growth in the Russian economy at all. If you look at the impact that that has had on Russians themselves, there’s basically been no growth in real disposable income; rather, a decline over the past six or seven years. I think the Russians recognize that. The question is whether they can come up with a set of policies that actually will reverse that and that lead to a more robustly growing economy. Now, what the Kremlin has tried to do is not so much reform the economy—which I think is necessary if they’re going to enjoy robust economic growth—as much as professionalize the economy; that is—that is, bring in a younger sort of cadre who are well educated, many of them educated in the West, who understand how modern economies function and can keep the economy stable at least at the macro level. And this is one of the reasons that Western sanctions have not had nearly the impact on Russian behavior that many had hoped for or anticipated back in 2014 when we began to turn repeatedly to this tool in response to Russian activities and operations against Ukraine. You know, it has had some impact. I think the IMF would say that it’s probably taken a percentage point off—or, not a percentage point, but a tenth of a percentage point off of Russia’s GDP growth over the past several years. That certainly hasn’t been enough to change Russian behavior. But it hasn’t been more, in fact, because the governors of the—of the central bank have dealt quite adeptly with that, and maintain said Russian macroeconomic stability and some sort of foundation for the economy to grow going forward. I imagine that’s going to continue into the—into the future as well. So it is a constraining factor. Then I would end with what I—with a point that I made in my introduction. Russia does have a tremendous ability to mobilize its resources for state purposes, to extract what it needs from society at large to modernize the military, to maintain certainly Russia’s defenses and also some capability to project power abroad. So I wouldn’t write them off because of that. I think it’s going—still going to be a serious power, but not nearly as great a challenge to the United States as if it, in fact, solved its demographic problems, its economic problems, and had a robustly growing economy, greater resources that it could devote to a whole range of things that would improve its standing on the global stage vis-à-vis the United States and vis-à-vis China. FASKIANOS: Well, with that we are at the end of our time. And I apologize to everybody. We had over twenty written questions still pending and raised hands. I’m sorry we couldn’t get to all of you, but we do try to end on time. So, Thomas Graham, thank you very much for sharing your insights and analysis with us today. We appreciate it. And to all of you for your terrific questions and comments, we appreciate it. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, October 6, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And we will focus on the Indo-Pacific with Dhruva Jaishankar, who is the executive director of the Observer Research Foundation America and nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow CFR at @CFR_Academic and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. So, Tom, thank you very much. GRAHAM: Thank you. Good luck to all of you. (END)
  • Education
    Academic Webinar: Race in America and International Relations
    Play
    Travis L. Adkins, deputy assistant administrator for Africa at USAID and lecturer of African and security studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service and in the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University, and Brenda Gayle Plummer, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, led a conversation on race in America and international relations. FASKIANOS: Welcome to the first session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s meeting is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website CFR.org/academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Travis Adkins and Brenda Gayle Plummer with us to discuss race in America and international relations. Travis Adkins is deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau of Africa at USAID, and lecturer of African and security studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and in the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. As an international development leader, he has two decades of experience working in governance, civil society, and refugee and migration affairs in over fifty nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Adkins was a CFR international affairs fellow and is a CFR member. Dr. Brenda Gayle Plummer is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research includes race and gender, international relations, and civil rights. Dr. Plummer has taught Afro-American history throughout her twenty years of experience in higher education. Previously she taught at Fisk University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Minnesota. And from 2001 to 2005, Dr. Plummer served on the Historical Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of State. So, thank you both for being with us today. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Travis, I thought we could begin with you to talk about the ways in which you’ve seen race relations in America influence U.S. foreign policy. ADKINS: Sure. Thank you so much, Irina. And welcome to everyone. Thank you for joining. The first thing I would say is that America’s long history of violence, exclusion, and barbarism towards Black people and indigenous people and Asian communities and immigrant communities in the United States have worked to give the lie to the notion of who we say we are in terms of freedom, in terms of democracy, in terms of the respect for human rights. And these are the core messages that we seek to project in our foreign policy. And we’ve not been able to resolve those contradictions because we have refused to face this history, right? And we can’t countenance a historical narrative in which we are not the heroes, not the good guys, not on the right side of history. And the challenge that we’ve had is that we’ve seen that play out in so many ugly ways domestically. But it also has resonance and relevance in our foreign policy, because what it ends up doing is essentially producing a foreign policy of platitudes and contradictory posturing on the issues of human rights, on the issues of racial justice, on the issues of democratic governance when the world can see not only this history but this present reality of racial discrimination, of police brutality, of efforts to suppress the political participation of specific groups of people inside of America. They can see children in cages at the Southern border. They can see anti-Asian hate taking place in our nation, and they can hear those messages resounding, sometimes from our White House, sometimes from our Senate, sometimes from our Congress and other halls of power throughout the United States. And that works against the message of who we say we are, which is really who we want to be. But the thing that we, I think, lose out on is pretending that where we want to be is actually where we are. And I think back a couple weeks ago Secretary Blinken came out saying to diplomats in the State Department that it was okay for them to admit America’s flaws and failings in their diplomatic engagements with other countries. But I would—I do applaud that. But I also think that saying that we would admit it to the rest of the world—the rest of the world already knows. And who we would have to need to focus on admitting it to is ourselves, because we have not faced this national shame of ours as it relates to the historical and the present reality of White supremacy, of racialized violence and hatred and exclusion in our immigration policy, in our education policy, in our law and customs and cultural mores that have helped to produce ongoing violence and hatred of this nature in which our history is steeped. I think the other part of that is that we lose the opportunity to then share that message with the rest of the world. And so, what I like to say is that our real history is better than the story that we tell. So instead of us framing ourselves and our foreign policy as a nation who fell from the heavens to the top of a mountain, it’s a more powerful story to say that we climbed up out of a valley and are still climbing up out of a valley of trying to create and produce and cultivate a multiracial, multiethnic democracy with respect for all, and that that is and has been a struggle. And I think that that message is much more powerful. And what it does is it creates healing for us at home, but it also begins to take away this kind of Achilles’ heel that many of our adversaries have used historically—the Soviet Union, now Russia, China, Iran—this notion that democracy and freedom and the moral posturing of America is all for naught if you just look at what they do at home. Who are they to preach to you about these things when they themselves have the same challenges? And so I think that we would strengthen ourselves if we could look at this in that way. And I would just close by saying that we often speak of the civil rights movement and the movement for decolonization in the world, and specifically in Africa where I mostly work, speak of them in the past tense. But I would argue that both of them are movements and histories that are continuously unfolding, that are not resolved, and that haven’t brought themselves to peaceful kinds of conclusions. And this is why when George Floyd is killed on camera, choked for nine minutes and loses his life, that you see reverberations all over the world, people pushing back because they are suffering from the same in their countries, and they are following after anti-Asian hate protestors and advocates, Black Lives Matter advocates and protestors, people who are saying to the world this is unacceptable. And so even in that way, you see the linked fates that people share. And so I think that the more we begin to face who we are at home, the more we begin to heal these wounds and relate better in the foreign policy arena, because I think that it is a long held fallacy that these things are separate, right? A nation’s foreign policy is only an extension of its beliefs, its policies and its aspirations and its desires from home going out into the world. So I will stop there. And thank you for the question. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Dr. Plummer, over to you. PLUMMER: Well, your question is a very good one. It is also a very book-length question. I’ll try to address that. First of all, I would like to say that I find Mr. Adkins’ statement quite eloquent and can’t think of anything I disagree with in what he has said. There are a couple of things that we might consider as well. I think there are several issues embedded in this question of the relationship between race relations in the United States and it’s policies toward other countries. One of them is, I think there’s a difference between what policymakers intend and how American policy is perceived. There is also the question of precisely who is making and carrying out U.S. foreign policy. Now there was a time when that question I think could be very readily answered. But we’re now in an age where we have enhanced roles for the military and the intelligence community. We have private contractors executing American objectives overseas. And this really places a different spin on things, somewhat different from what we observe when we look at this only through a strictly historical lens. I think we also need to spend some time thinking about the precise relationship between race and racism and what we might call colonial, more of imperialist practices. You might look, for example, at what is the relationship between the essentially colonial status of places like Puerto Rico and the Marianas and the—how those particular people from those places are perceived and treated within both the insular context and the domestic context. Clearly, everybody on the planet is shaped to a large degree by the culture and the society that they live in, that they grew up in, right? And so it is probably no mystery from the standpoint of attitudes that certain kinds of people domestically may translate into similar views of people overseas. But I think one of the things we might want to think about is how our institutions, as well as prejudices, influence what takes place. People like to talk, for example, about the similarities between the evacuation of Saigon and the evacuation of Kabul and wonder what is it called when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? We might want to think about what is it, institutionally, which creates these kinds of repetitions, creates situations in which diplomats are forced to apologize and explain continually about race and other conflictual issues in American society. We might also think about what you perhaps could call a racialization process. Do we create categories of pariahs in response to national emergencies? Do we create immigrants from countries south of the United States as enemies because we don’t have a comprehensive and logical way of dealing with immigration? Do we create enemies out of Muslims because of our roles in the Middle East and, you know, the activities and actions of other states? There’s some historical presence for this—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, for example. So it seems to me that in addressing I think, you know, some of this very rich question, there are a number of ways and facets that we might want to look at and discuss more fully. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you very much. And now we’re going to go to all of you for questions and comments. So you can either ask your question by raising your hand, click on the raised hand icon and I will call on you, or else you can write your question in the Q&A box. And if you choose to write your question—although we’d prefer to hear your voice—please include your affiliation. And when I call on you, please let us know who you are and your institution. So the first question, the first raised hand I see is from Stanley Gacek. Q: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you very much, Professor Plummer and Mr. Adkins, for a very, very compelling presentation. My name is Stanley Gacek. I’m the senior advisor for global strategies at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing 1.3 million working women and men in the United States and Canada in the retail, wholesale, food production, healthcare, and services industries. Practically all of our members are on the frontlines of the pandemic. I also served as deputy director and interim director of the ILO mission in Brazil in 2011 to 2016. And my question is this. I wonder if the speakers would also acknowledge that an issue for the United States in terms of its credibility with regard to racial justice, human rights, and of course labor rights, is a rather paltry record of the United States in terms of ratifying international instruments and adhering to international fora with regard to all of these issues. One example which comes to mind in my area is ILO Convention 111 against discrimination in employment and profession, which could—actually has gone through a certain due diligence process in former administrations and was agreed to by business and labor in the United States but still the United States has failed to ratify. I just wondered if you might comment more generally about how that affects our credibility in terms of advocating for racial justice, human rights, and labor rights throughout the world. Thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Who can address that, would like to address that? PLUMMER: Well, I have very little immediate knowledge of this, and I have to say that labor issues and labor rights have been kind of a missing element in terms of being heavily publicized and addressed. I think it has something to do with the fact that over the course of the decades the United States has been less responsive to the United Nations, to international organizations in general. But in terms of the specifics, you know, precisely what has fallen by the wayside, I, you know, personally don’t have, you know, knowledge about that. ADKINS: And I would just say more generally, not to speak specifically in terms of labor, where I’m also not an expert, but there is, of course, a long history of the U.S. seeking to avoid these kinds of issues in the international arena writ large as Dr. Plummer was just referring to. I just finished a book by Carol Anderson called Eyes Off the Prize, which is a whole study of this and the ways in which the U.S. government worked through the United Nations to prevent the internationalization of the civil rights movement which many—Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others—sought to frame it in the context of human rights and raise it into an international specter, and that was something that the U.S. government did not want to happen. And of course, we know that part of the genius of the civil rights movement writ large was this tactic of civil disobedience, not just to push against a law that we didn’t like to see in effect but actually to create a scene that would create international media attention which would show to the world what these various communities were suffering inside of America, to try to create pressure outside of our borders for the cause of freedom and justice and democracy. And so there is that long history there which you’ve touched on with your question. Thank you for that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome. Q: Good afternoon and thank you for your presentation. I just wonder about U.S. foreign policy, how it lines up with the domestic politics, you know, in terms of race relations, because if one was to believe U.S. propaganda, you know, this country is doing good in the world, it’s the country to emulate. But you know, the events of—well, I guess the George Floyd case brought into graphic relief what most astute observers of the U.S. know, that race relations of the U.S. do not line up very well with the constitutional aspirations of the U.S. So what’s going to change now, you know? And then there’s also this pandemic and the way which race and class is showing us about the real serious inequalities in the U.S. So what’s going to change in terms of lessons learned? And then moving forward, is also multilateralism going to come back into U.S. foreign policy in some way? That’s it. PLUMMER: I think—I’m getting kind of an echo here. I don’t know if other people are. I don’t think anyone is—you know, who is thinking about this seriously doubts that the United States is in a crisis at the moment—a crisis of legitimacy not only abroad but also domestically. We have a situation in which an ostensibly developed country has large pockets, geographic pockets where there are, you know, 30, 40, 50 percent poverty rates. We have people who are essentially mired in superstition, you know, with regard to, you know, matters of health and science. And you know, I don’t think anyone is, you know—is, you know—who is, you know, thinking about this with any degree of gravity is not concerned about the situation. Once again, I think we’re talking here about institutions, about how we can avoid this sort of repetitive and cyclical behavior. But one thing I want to say about George Floyd is that this is a phenomenon that is not only unique to the United States. One of the reasons why George Floyd became an international cause célèbre is because people in other countries also were experiencing racism. There—other countries had issues with regard to immigration. And so really looking at a situation in which I think is—you know, transcends the domestic, but it also transcends, you know, simply looking at the United States as, you know, the sort of target of criticism. FASKIANOS: Do you want to add anything, Travis, or do you want to—should we go to the next question? ADKINS: Go on to the next question. Thank you. FASKIANOS: OK, thank you. Let’s go to Shaarik Zafar with Georgetown, and our prior questioner was with Brooklyn—teachers at Brooklyn College. Q: Hey, there. This is Shaarik Zafar. I was formerly the special counsel for post-9/11 national origin discrimination in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division—sorry, that’s a mouthful—and then most recently during the Obama years I was a special representative to Muslim communities. So this—I first applaud the presentation. These issues are very near and dear to me. I think it’s clear, you know, we have to own up and acknowledge our shortcomings. And I think, you know, I was really sad to hear that we actually worked against highlighting what I think is really an example of American exceptionalism, which is our civil rights movement and our civil rights community. When I was at State during the Obama years, we had a very modest program where we brought together U.S. civil rights leaders and connected them with European civil rights leaders. And the idea wasn’t that we had it all figured out but rather that, you know, in some respects the United States has made some advances when it comes to civil rights organizing and civil society development in that respect—and perhaps more so than other countries. I was just thinking, I would love to get the panelists’ thoughts on ways that we can continue to collaborate and—you know, on a civil society level between civil rights organizations in the United States and abroad and the way the U.S. government should actually support that—even if it means highlighting our shortcomings—but as a way to, you know, invest in these types of linkages and partnerships to not only highlight our shortcomings but look for ways that we could, you know, actually come to solutions that need to be, I think, fostered globally. Thanks so much. ADKINS: You know, the first thing I would say, Shaarik—thanks for your question—I thought it was interesting, this idea of framing the civil rights movement as a kind of example of American exceptionalism. And I think there’s a way in which I would relate to that in the sense that folks did, at least nominally or notionally, have certain kinds of freedom of speech, certain kinds of rights to assembly. But even those were challenged, of course, when we see the violence and the assassinations and all of the machinations of the government against those who were leaders or participants in that movement. And so in that sense, perhaps I would agree. I might push back, though, in terms of American exceptionalism as it relates to civil rights, because these people were actually advocating against the U.S. government, who actually did not want them to have the rights that they were promised under the Constitution. Of course, many of us would not be free or able to speak up without the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments. And so there’s a sense in which we celebrate them, but there’s also a sense in which they are actually indictments of the original Constitution which did not consider any of those things to be necessary elements of our society. In terms of civil society and where the U.S. government is engaged, I think that, you know, sometimes when we deal with these problems that are foreign policy related, you know, sometimes the answer is at home. Sometimes the answer is not, you know, a white paper from some high-level think tank. It’s not something that starts ten thousand miles away from where we are, because I don’t think that we would have the kind of standing and credibility that we would need to say that we believe in and support and give voice and our backing to civil society movements abroad if we don’t do the same thing at home. And so everything that we want to do somewhere else, we ought to ask ourselves the question of whether or not we’ve thought about doing it at home. And I don’t mean to suggest—because certainly no nation is perfect, and every nation has its flaws. But certainly, we would be called to the mat for the ways in which we are either acknowledging or refusing to acknowledge that we have, you know, these same—these same challenges. And so I think there still remains a lot of work to be done there in terms of how we engage on this. And you have seen the State Department come out and be more outspoken. You’ve seen the Biden administration putting these issues more out front. You have now seen the Black Lives Matter flag flying over U.S. embassies in different parts of the world. And some people might view that as co-optation of a movement that is actually advocating against the government for those rights and those respects and that safety and security that people believe that they are not receiving. And others might see it as a way to say, look, our nation is embracing civil society and civic protests in our nation as an example that the countries in which those embassies are in should be more open to doing the same kinds of things. And so it’s a great question. I think it remains to be seen how we move forward on that—on that score. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Molly Cole. Q: Hi. My name is Molly Cole. I am a grad student of global affairs at New York University. I was just curious sort of what y’all thought about what the consequences of foreign policy on punishment systems and institutions as it pertains to race relations in the United States would be, also in tandem with sort of this strive for global inclusivity and equity and just sort of, I guess, hitting those two ideas against each other. ADKINS: Can you clarify the ideals for us, Molly? So one sounded like it was about maybe mass incarceration or the death penalty or things of that nature? You’re talking about punitive systems of justice? And then the other seemed to be more about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the foreign policy space? But I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I just want to make sure I understand the question. Q: You hit the nail on the head. ADKINS: OK. Do you want to go ahead, Dr. Plummer? PLUMMER: Oh. Well, again, a great question but, you know, one of, you know, it’s—could write a book to answer. (Laughs.) Well, if you’re talking about the sort of international regime of incarceration—is that what you were referring to? Q: Yes, essentially. So when we’re—when we’re considering, you know, these punitive systems, I’m thinking in terms of, you know, the death penalty, mass incarceration, private prisons, sort of this culmination of us trying to come up with these ideals, but doing it sort of on our own, while also combatting, you know, what the nation is calling for, what the globe is calling for. PLUMMER: Yeah. I think this sort of pertains to what I had mentioned earlier about just, you know, who is making and carrying out U.S. foreign policy, or domestic policy for that matter. There’s a whole question of the state and, you know, what parts of the state are involved in this whole question of incarceration and are involved in the whole question of the death penalty. One of the things that we are aware of is that prisons have—some of the prisons are actually not being operated by civil authorities. They’re operated by private entities. We saw this again in—you know, particularly in Afghanistan, where a lot of functions which normally, you know, are carried out by civil authorities are carried out by private authorities. And so this really puts a whole different perspective on the question or the relationship of citizens to the state and, you know, to any other particular group of citizens to the state. So I think that, you know, one of the problem areas then is to tease out what in fact are the obligations and privileges of government, and how do they differ from and how are they distinguished from the private sector. Q: Thank you. ADKINS: And I would just add quickly on this notion of hypocrisy and saying one thing and doing another, there was an interesting anecdote around this when President Obama visited Senegal. And he was delivering a fairly tough message about the treatment of members of the LGBT+ community in Senegal. And President Macky Sall got up essentially after President Obama and was essentially saying that, you know, we kind of appreciate this tough love lecture, but I would remind you, you know, that Senegal doesn’t have the death penalty, right? And so on one hand we’re actually saying something that has a grounding. Of course, people of all human stripes can have dignity, and have respect and be protected. But he is then hitting back and saying, hey, wait a minute, you kill people who break laws in your own country. And we don’t have the death penalty. So who should actually be the arbiter of how is the correct way – or, what is the correct way to be? On the second part of your question, quickly, Molly, especially as it relates to the kind of diversity, equity, and inclusion piece, this is why also there has been a big push to look in our State Department, to look at USAID, to look at the face that America presents to the world. And all too often that face has been male, that face has been White. And that gives a certain perception of America, but it also means that we lose the tremendous treasure and talent of people who have language skills, who come from communities in which their own perspective on the world actually is a talent that they have. Specifically, because many of those communities—whether they’ve immigrated or come to America by different means—are also from groups who’ve been marginalized, who’ve been oppressed, who have a certain frame and a lens with which to engage with other nations in the world, either in terms of partnership, either in terms of deterrence. And so we lose out in many ways because we haven’t done a great job in that—in that matter. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take a written question from Morton Holbrook, who’s at Kentucky Wesleyan College. His question is: How should the United States respond to international criticism to the U.S.’s racial discrimination? And how will that affect the relationship between the U.S. and the international community? PLUMMER: Well, the United States, I think, has—(laughs)—no choice but to acknowledge this. Historically this has been a problem that when pressed on this issue in the past the response was always, well, you know, we know this is a problem and we’re working on it. And the most egregious examples of racism are the responsibility of people who are either at the margins of society or who represent some sort of relic past that is rapidly disappearing, right? That was the message about the South, right? OK, the South is, you know, rapidly developing and so soon these vestiges of violent racism will be over. Well, again, the reason why that doesn’t work anymore—(laughs)—is because we’re always projecting this future, right, that—you know, it’s always being projected further and further into the future. And we’re never there yet. And it seems to me, again, that this is a problem of institutions. This is a problem of the embeddedness of racism in American life, and a refusal on the part of so many Americans to acknowledge that racism is real, and that it exists. And you know, I think we see many examples of this. I’m thinking of one instance where a George Floyd commemorative mural was painted on a sidewalk and some folks came along with some paint and painted over it, because they said it wasn’t a racism corner, you know, while engaged in a racist act. So, you know, there really needs to be, I think, on a very fundamental level, some education—(laughs)—you know, in this country on the issue of race and racism. The question is, you know, who is—who will be leaders, right? Who will undertake this kind of mission? ADKINS: One thing I would say, quickly, on that, Irina, just an anecdote as well that also relates to really in some ways the last question about who our representatives are and what perspective they bring. Several years ago, I was on a trip—a congressional delegation to Egypt. And I was with several members of the CBC. And we met with President Sisi. And they were giving him a fairly rough go of it over his treatment of protesters who were protesting at that time in Tahrir Square, many of whom had been killed, maimed, abused, jailed. And he listened to them kind of haranguing him. And at the end of that speech that they were giving to him he said basically: I understand your points. And I hear your perspective. But he said, can I ask you a question? They said, sure, Mr. President. We welcome you to ask questions. And he said, what about Ferguson? And the day that he said that Ferguson was on fire with surplus military equipment in the streets of America, with, you know, tear gas and armed military-appearing soldiers in the streets of America who were seen, at least optically, to be doing the same thing, right? Not as many people were killed, certainly, but the point is you have this same problem. However, if that had been a different delegation, he might have scored a point in their verbal jousting. But President Sisi had the misfortune of saying this to two-dozen 70-plus-year-old Black people. And no one in America would know better than they what that is like. And so what they ended up replying to him by saying, exactly. No one knows this better than we do. And this is exactly why we’re telling you that you shouldn’t do it. Not because our country doesn’t have that history, but because we do have that history and it has damaged us, and it will damage you. Which takes on a completely different tone in our foreign relations than if it was simply a lecture, and that we were placing ourselves above the nations of the world rather than among them. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go to Ashantee Smith. Q: Hello. Can you guys hear me? ADKINS: We can. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: OK, perfect. Hi. My name is Ashantee Smith. I am a grad student at Winston-Salem State University. In regards to some of the responses that you guys gave earlier, it gave me a question. And I wanted to know how you guys were putting the correlation between racism and immigration. PLUMMER: Well, yeah. The United States has a history of racialized responses to immigrants, including historically to White immigrants. Back in the day the Irish, for example, were considered to be, you know, something less than White. We know, however, that society—American society has since, you know, incorporated Europeans into the category of Whiteness, and not done so for immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, who remain racialized, who are perceived as being, in some respects by some people, unassimilable. We also have a phenomenon of the racialization of Muslims, the creation of outcast groups that are subjected to, you know, extremes of surveillance or exclusion or discrimination. So immigration is very much embedded in this, is a question of an original vision of the United States, you know, and you can see this in the writings of many of the founding fathers, as essentially a White country in which others, you know, are in varying degrees of second-class citizens or not citizens at all. So this is, I think, an example of something that we have inherited historically that continues to, you know, be an issue for us in the present. Yeah. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson. Q: Hello. I am just so thrilled to see the two panelists here. I want—I actually raised my hand when you were talking about the labor rights issue. And I’m at Tufts University. And I’m currently working on an intellectual biography about Ralph Bunche. And I actually ran over here from the U.N. archives where I was actually reading about these issues. (Laughs.) And I wanted to just say that the discussion we’re having now, it’s sort of disjointed because we’re dealing with lots of erasures, things that are overlooked, and they are not enough Carol Andersons and Brenda Gayle Plummer professors out there putting these things in press. But even more importantly, they are not sufficiently in our curriculum. So people who study international relations and people who do international relations don’t know most of these things. So my quick point I just wanted to say was during World War II when Ralph Bunche was working for the OSS military intelligence, his archives are full of it, he went and he was interviewing our allies at their missions and embassies in the U.S.—the French, the British—asking them: What are your labor relations policies in your colonial territories? And this was considered important military information for the United States, as we were going to be—as Africa was an important field of operation. When you get to actually setting up the U.N., I was struck in a way I hadn’t, because I hadn’t read archives this way. (Laughs.) But I’m looking at conversations between Bunche and Hammarskjöld, and they’re restructuring the organization of the United States—of the United Nations. And there are two big issues that are determining their response to the restructuring—the Cold War as well as decolonization. And I actually think that those two issues remain—they’re structuring that conversation we’re having right now. And they—we say the Cold War is over, but I love this phrase, of the racialization of the current enemies or people we think of as enemies. So I actually do think that this is a really good program we’re having where we’re trying to have the conversation. But the dis-junctures, and the silences, and the difficulties of responding I think speak volumes. The last thing I will say, very quickly, that incident about the discussion with President Sisi that Mr. Adkins—that needs to be canned. That needs to be somehow made available as an example that can be replicated and expanded and broadened for people to use in teaching. ADKINS: Well, I always listen when my teacher is talking to me, Dr. Robinson. Thank you for sharing that. And I’m working on it, I promise you. (Laughter.) FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to—we have lots of questions and raised hands, and we’re not going to get to all of you. So I apologize right now. (Laughs.) We’ll do the best we can. Jill Humphries. Q: Hello. My name is Jill Humphries. And I’m an adjunct assistant professor in the Africa Studies Program at the University of Toledo, and have been doing Africa-based work, I’m proud to say, for about thirty-three years, starting at the age twenty-two, and have used Dr. Plummer’s work in my dissertation. And hello, fellow ICAPer (sp). So my question is this: There’s an assumption that I believe we’re operating in. And that is race and racism is somehow aberrant to the founding of this country, right? So we know that Saidiya Hartman and Frank Wilderson, the Afropessimist, make the argument that it is clearly key that it is fundamental to the development of our institutions. And so my question is this: You know, the—in the domestic scene the sort of abolitions clearly state that unless we fundamentally transform our norms and values, which impact, of course, our institutions, then we will continue to have the exact outcomes that are expected. The killing of George Floyd and the continuing, I think, need to kill Black bodies is essential to this country. And so my question is, in the context of foreign relations, international relations, are we also looking at the way in which, number one, it is not aberrant that racism is a constituent element in the development of our foreign policy and our institutions? And that unless we fundamentally first state it, acknowledge it, and then perhaps explore the way in which we dismantle, right—dismantle those norms and values that then impact these institutions, that we’re going to continue to have the same outcomes, right? So for example, when Samantha Powers visited Ethiopia, if you’ve been following that whole narrative, there was a major backlash by the Ethiopian diaspora—major. My colleagues and friends, like, I’ve had intense conversations, right, around that. Same thing about the belief about Susan, former—Susan Rice’s role, right, in continuing to influence our foreign policy, particularly towards the Horn of Africa. So my question is: What does that look like, both theoretically, conceptually? But more importantly for me, because I’m a practitioner on the ground, what does that look like in practice? And that’s where I think Professor Adkins, working for USAID, could really kind of talk about. Thank you. ADKINS: Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think it goes back to Dr. Robinson’s question a moment ago. And that is the first the acknowledgement and the calling out and the putting into relief and contrast the context in which we’re operating, especially when we think about not even USAID specifically, but the industry of development—aid and development assistance kind of writ large. Because essentially what we have is a historical continuum that starts with the colonial masters and the colonial subjects. And then that because what is called, or framed, as the first world and the third world, right? And then that becomes the developing world and the developed world. Then that becomes the global north and the global south. All of which suggests that one is above, and one is below. That one is a kind of earthly heaven, the other kind of earthly hell. That one possessed the knowledge and enlightenment to lead people into civilization, and the other needs redemption, needs to be saved, needs to be taught the way to govern themselves, right? That this kind of Western notion of remaking yourself in the world, that your language, that your system of government, that your way of thinking and religious and belief and economics should be the predominant one in the world. And so I think, to me, what you’re saying suggests the ways in which we should question that. And this is where you start to hear conversations about decolonizing aid, about questioning how we presume to be leaders in the world in various aspects, of which we may not actually be producing sound results ourselves. And thinking again about this notion of placing ourselves among nations rather than above nations in the ways in which we relate and engage. And I think that it’s one of the reasons that we continue to have challenges in the realm of development assistance, in the realm of our diplomacy and foreign policy. Because, again, there is a pushback against that kind of thinking, which is rooted in a deep history that contains much violence and many types of economic and diplomatic pressures to create and sustain the set of power relations which keeps one group of people in one condition and one in another. And so it’s a huge question. And how to bring that kind of lofty thinking down to the granular level I think is something that we will have to continue to work on every day. I certainly don’t have the answer, but I’m certainly answering—asking, I should say—the questions. PLUMMER: I think I might also think about how is in charge. And this is—you know, it goes back to something we talked about before, when U.S. foreign policy is no longer exclusively rooted in the State Department? So in terms of, you know, who represents the United States abroad and in what ways, and how is that representation perceived, we’re really looking at, you know, a lot of different actors. And we’re also looking at, you know, changes in the way that the U.S. government itself is perceiving its role, both at home and abroad. And one of the questions was previously asked about the system of incarceration speaks to that, because we have to ask ourselves what are—what are—what are the proper roles and responsibilities and burdens of the state, the government and, you know, what is leased out—(laughs)—in some ways, for profit to private concerns? So I think that, you know, some of this is about, you know, a sense of mission that I don’t see out there, that I think will in some respects have to be restored and reinvented. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Erez Manela. Q: Thank you very much for this really terrific and important panel. My name is Erez Manela. I teach the history of U.S. foreign relations at Harvard. And my question actually—I don’t know if Irina planned this—but it follows on directly from the previous question. Because I kept on wondering during this panel what—I mean, the focus that we’ve had here, the topic that’s been defined, is the way in which domestic race relations, domestic racism, have shaped U.S. foreign policy. But of course, U.S. foreign policy has been shaped—as the previous questioner noted—has been shaped directly by racism and perceptions of racial hierarchy for—well, since the very beginning. And Professor Adkins spoke very eloquently about it. And of course, Professor Plummer has written eloquently about that, including in her books on Haiti and international relations. But I guess I’m wondering if you could speak more about the specifics about the history that needs to be recognized in that realm, and then—and this is maybe self-interested—whether you have any recommendations, in the way that you recommended Carol Anderson’s really terrific book—for reading that we can read ourselves or give our students to read, that would really drive that point home, the influence of racism, race perceptions, race hierarchies themselves on—directly on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations historically. PLUMMER: Well, Professor Manela, I appreciate your own work on Wilson. And you know, that in some respects—that would be a book that I’d recommend. (Laughs.) Might also think about Mary Dudziak’s work on Cold War civil rights, and her law review article, Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative, which, you know, directly addresses these questions. Again, what I would like to see is some work that will—perhaps not necessarily a historical perspective—but will address this whole question of the sort of growing, I don’t know what you’d call it, multiplicity or multivariant character of American policymaking, you know, as we—as we go forward, you know, past the Cold War era. There’s an interesting item by a man named Andrew Friedman, who wrote a book called Covert Capital. I think the subtitle is something like Landscapes of Power, in which we discussed the rise of Northern Virginia as what he sees as the true capital of, you know, parts of the U.S. government, in being a center for the military and for intelligence community. And their shaping of that environment at home, as well as their influence in shaping U.S. policy abroad. So, you know, there’s a lot of room for work on these—on these issues. ADKINS: And I would also just follow up—and thank you for the question—and add another book that I just finished. Daniel Immerwahr, from Northwestern University, How to Hide an Empire, which deals in many ways with U.S. foreign policy and the way in which it is explicitly racialized and ways in which that goes understudied in our—in our policy circles, and certainly in the world of education. FASKIANOS: I’m going to try to squeeze in one last question. And I apologize again for not getting to everybody’s question. We’ll go to Garvey Goulbourne as our final question. Q: Yes. Hi. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: Yeah. My name’s Garvey Goulbourne. I’m a student at the University of Virginia, actually studying abroad this semester in Rabat, Morocco. And my question to you both is: What mechanisms do we have to orient the narratives that our foreign policy leaders are brought up with? Thinking particularly of American exceptionalism and how we kind of place ourselves on a pedestal, whether they be foreign affairs schools or various institutions at different levels of American education, what tools do we have to address the foundations of American perspectives of themselves and our nation in relation to the rest of the world, particularly the global south? FASKIANOS: Who wants to go first? An easy question, of course, to close with. PLUMMER: Go ahead, Mr. Adkins. ADKINS: Sure, sure. Thank you for your question, Garvey. And congratulations on the move out to Morocco. Great to see you there. I think the first thing I would say, of course, is our tools, as far as I am concerned, relate certainly to education. And it’s one of the reasons that I am in the classroom. But I know what that fight is like, because even education is taken over by these notions of White supremacy, by these notions of singular historical narratives. And this is why there’s been such a push against the 1619 Project of the New York Times, why there is this kind of silly season around the misunderstood origins and contexts of critical race theory. There is this battle over who gets to tell the story of what America is, because it is more than—but it is more than one thing, obviously, to a multiplicity of people. And so I am kind of remiss—or, not remiss. There’s no way for me to elucidate for you now a series of tools that will resolve these problems, because these are challenges that people have been wrestling with before our mothers’ mothers were born. And so we only are continuing that fight from where we sit. And certainly, in the classrooms that I am in, whether they are in prisons or on campuses, we are always digging into the origin of these themes. And the main frame through which I teach is not just for students to understand this history for their health, but for them to understand this history as a lens through which to view the current world and all of the events and challenges that we find ourselves facing, to see if we can come up with new ways to address them. PLUMMER: Well, one of the things that Mr. Goulbourne could do, since he is in Morocco, is to make use of his own insights in his conversations with Moroccans. So, you know, there is still a role, you know, for individual actors to play some part in attempting to make some changes. FASKIANOS: Well, with that we unfortunately have to close this conversation. It was very rich. Thank you, Travis Adkins and Brenda Gayle Plummer or sharing your insights and analysis with us. We really appreciate it. To all of you, for your questions and comments. Again, I’m sorry we couldn’t get to all of you. You can follow Travis Adkins @travisladkins, and that’s on Twitter. And our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday September 29, at 1:00 p.m. (ET) with Thomas Graham, who is a fellow at CFR. And we’ll talk about Putin’s Russia. So in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_Academic, visit CFR.org, Thinkglobalhealth.org, and ForeignAffairs.com for new research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all again and we look forward to continuing the conversation. ADKINS: Take care, everyone. Thank you. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Pandemic-Related Inequities in Higher Education
    Play
    Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and Clyde Wilson Pickett, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh, discuss pandemic-related inequities in higher education.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at the Council on Foreign Relations. And we welcome you and are happy to have you with us today. Our meeting is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. So we’re delighted to have Sara Goldrick-Rab and Clyde Wilson Pickett with us today to talk about pandemic-related inequities in higher education. We’ve shared their bios with you, so I’ll just give a few highlights. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She’s also the chief strategy office for emergency aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founder of Believe in Students, a nonprofit focused on distributing emergency aid. She’s known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education and for her work on making public higher education free. Dr. Pickett is vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh. In his role, he provides leadership for university-wide comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Previously Dr. Pickett served as chief diversity officer for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And prior to that, he held positions with several other colleges and universities, including the Community College of Allegheny County, Ohio Northern University, Morehead State University, and the University of Kentucky. So thank you both for joining us today. You know, we really want to have a—dig into this conversation, the primary ways the pandemic has contributed to inequities in higher education that were already there, but we’ve seen the gap widen. So, Dr. Goldrick-Rab, it would be great if you could begin by talking about the financial challenges, including non-tuition related challenges, related expenses that you’ve seen pre-pandemic and now with the pandemic. And then we’ll go to Dr. Pickett. GOLDRICK-RAB: Great. Yes. Well, thank you so much for having me. And it’s great to be here virtually with you all today. It’s a real honor. And I’m delighted to be here with Clyde and looking forward to this conversation. This topic of what students go through in order to pay for college is something that I spent about twenty years studying. And a lot of what we have learned over that time is that the challenges are a lot more complicated and a lot more substantial than simple numbers, like the net price of college or the amount of financial aid, would have you believe. So even prior to the pandemic, we saw that students were, for example, having trouble because what the college said it would cost to go there is inclusive of living expenses. And what a college estimates for living expenses is often off. So for example, right, if a student is living at home with their family, the assumption might be that the family is not charging rent. But a lot of students were, in fact, paying rent while living with their families. So one key thing that was challenging was information and, you know, just a good sense of what one had to budget for. A second really big challenge is that the financial aid system was really set up to support a fraction of college students, not to support the majority. And as result, there’s a lot of paperwork required. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through in order to be able to get and keep financial aid. And, frankly, there’s only a limited amount of money. And so the financial aid, even before the pandemic, was leaving students way short, especially when it came to grants. And that’s one of the main reasons that we saw the big increase in loans. The other thing is that the financial aid system is heavily bureaucratic. It moves very slowly. And so when a student has an unexpected expense or a shortfall—you know, a car breaks down—it is very hard to get that money quickly using standard financial aid. Another big challenge, it has to do with what happened to people’s families, right? So the status of American families over the last twenty years, and the extent to which they can’t actually make ends meet, the extent to which they can’t survive an unexpected expense themselves, means that a lot of college students come from settings where there isn’t anybody there to actually be able to help them in that way. They can provide love, and they can provide support, and they can talk to them and be supportive of, you know, what they’re doing. But the idea that every student coming to college has two parents with good incomes who are able to step up and help, that’s been an outdated assumption for a very long time. And of course, that also maps onto significant changes in the racial composition of higher education, into the gender composition, right, the class composition of higher education, and so on. Another big issue has to do with working. And working during college is actually the backbone of financial aid packages. Students are mostly assumed that they’re going to need to work, and they do need to work. And 70 percent of students were working before the pandemic, and the vast majority of students were trying to find work but couldn’t find it. So that was really hard in a labor market where the minimum wage didn’t, you know, pay particularly well and where, let’s be honest, employers really want flexibility and they’re not particularly impressed with students’ needs to attend class, for example, at given times of the day. So that, on top of state disinvestment for higher education, which has led a lot of institutions to shift the burden for paying for college onto students, was what thinks looked like before the pandemic. And then the pandemic struck. And we already had gaps in the system. We already had big financial holes for many, many students. And it did a lot of things. It made it harder for institutions that needed to offer students a lot more financial aid or a lot more emergency aid but didn’t have the support available, that don’t have big endowments. When the federal government stepped up, that was good. But somebody actually has to give out the money. And there wasn’t a lot of money to provide for that additional staffing and infrastructure to actually get money to students quickly. That’s a lot of work. So one of the results is that we find that an average time it takes to get a student emergency aid is about fourteen days. Which is way out of line when you consider that what happens to people in an emergency is they need money fast. Another thing that happened, of course, is that jobs for students have become a lot harder to find, although it’s also been complicated by the fact that employers report they can’t find people to work there. But the kinds of jobs that students are comfortable being in—meaning they feel safe, that work with their work schedules, and that pay a decent wage—are still really hard for many of them to find. Another challenge, of course, is that many of these students have family responsibilities. So more than one in four students in the United States has a child of their own. So the things that have happened to our workforce as schools closed and parents had to take care of kids happened to our students too. And to the extent that families became sick or, you know, there was a need for caretaking, students had to do that as well. So in all of the ways that affect regular people in American life—in terms of their financial instability, the volatility, the unexpected expenses—things were hard before and things are even harder now. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Dr. Pickett, I’d like to go over to you now to talk about the challenges that you’ve seen, obviously with the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and strategies that you could offer as we look ahead. PICKETT: Absolutely. Well, certainly I want to take the opportunity to extend my thanks for allowing me to be with you, and to be with our colleagues, and of course to share time with Sara. It’s an honor and a privilege. Certainly, one of the things that we need to prioritize is that the current crisis has magnified inequities that have been with us for a long time. And as Sara notes, a number of these things have been present. And so as we think about the impact of this pandemic, they’ve exposed future, or I should say, current and more pronounced vulnerabilities that already existed. And they impact our populations beyond what we realize. So we put specific attention, as we should, on our students. But to be mindful that these vulnerabilities and specifically the impact of inequity impacts our colleagues. Certainly, that’s true for our staff of different designations, particularly those who are economically fragile and who are on the frontlines, as well as our colleagues who are faculty. And to think about how we can’t allow this crisis to be an excuse for how we prioritize equity and how we move a strategic agenda forward. So I wanted to be intentional about leading with that. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm our commitment and our responsibility to addressing inequities broadly speaking across the institutions that make up higher education. In terms of prioritizing specific areas, I think that inequity has been most pronounced in terms of the areas of student support, more specifically thinking about holistic student support and how we’re advancing and thinking collectively about the academic support as well as the broader considerations for how we support our students, the academic priorities of institutions and how we position them front and center. As we think about the responsibility to provide support for faculty who have to pivot to online exchange and instruction, how do we provide intentional support to meet the needs of different learners and to prioritize that beyond just a compliance lens, and to think about how accessibility and digital accessibility had to be front in consideration—a front and center consideration, I should say—for the work that we do. A part of this work, as we think about broad inequities, also is about the work in terms of thinking about the human capital of our institutions. I mentioned just briefly the disproportionate impact that we’ve—for frontline staff and individuals of different designation who are advancing work, but also to think about what it means in terms of being the caretaker of a loved one or significant other or child who has a health challenge or has been impacted by the pandemic. And more specifically to think about the childcare considerations that are placed on our colleagues and, as Sara pointed out, certainly our students as well. This broad conversation that I think is important for us to think about in terms of the broad DEI agenda and the long-term ramifications are for us to think about funding considerations as well as the academic priorities for the future. We’ve seen a number of conversations manifest around the country about learning loss and the impact long term in terms of access of higher education, and to mindful of what that means for vulnerable and populations that have been traditionally underrepresented, underserved, and locked out of higher education. So we need to be mindful of that specific impact. It is a necessity that we prioritize inclusion in terms of how we move this work forward. We know loud and clear that the pandemic has further illuminated issues of discrimination, bias, and xenophobia. We’ve seen that with the uptick in anti-Asian violence around the country, more pronounced incidents of growth in White supremacist groups around the country. And to think about how institutions can take a more proactive approach in creating inclusive spaces on campuses and online, as instruction has pivoted in different ways, and for us to prioritize that. Campuses must be intentional about thinking about the holistic needs our students, the basic needs our students, and to prioritize mental health support and technology, as all of those areas have been escalated for consideration. Certainly, to be mindful of balancing safety as a front and center consideration for how we prioritize inclusion is part of our work. And to think about how we prioritize funding allocation for different opportunities to impact populations has to be a consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. So I offer those considerations as we begin our discussion and, of course, look forward to delving into more of them, as well as the questions that might come from our colleagues. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Let’s go to all of you now for your questions. You can either raise your hand or you can type your question in the Q&A box and I’ll read it. If you do so there, though, please state your institutional affiliation so that we know where you are, gives us the context for the conversation. So I’m going to first go to a good colleague, Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. Over to you. Q: OK. Yeah. Good afternoon. I’m Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. And I’m a professor of political science at Brooklyn College. One of the concerns that I have is the mental health effects on students, and actually all of us—(laughs)—but really on the students, especially students who do not—who are not traditional students. You know, and so they don’t have as many resources available to them. So I was wondering what your insights are on this issue and what could be done institutionally and collectively to address this issue. PICKETT: I’ll weigh in just quickly here, and Sara, of course, look forward to your comments as well. As a queued up at the beginning, I think this is a front and center consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. Loud and clear we’ve heard directly from students that mental health is an area of priority. Before we were in the pandemic the request for additional support and for campuses all around the country was a front and center consideration, how we put particular attention and, more importantly, how we resourced mental health support was an area of rising consideration. And for colleagues who work directly in student affairs and student support, we know that this has always been there. But as we continue to navigate this pandemic, it continues to be an even greater area of consideration as we think about the impact, particularly on communities that have been most impacted, and particularly thinking about Black and brown communities, and other economically fragile communities, in terms of the need for additional mental health support, and in areas and certain situations where those communities don’t necessarily always connect with mental health support. So that’s another consideration. I think campuses that are most proactive, and higher education institutions that are most proactive are putting in specific resources to continue to build out support for mental health support. And for institutions that are less well-prepared for that, I think having alliances with broader institutions and to think about how we can leverage collective support is the answer for how we get at this. I want to be clear. I think we have a responsibility certainly to meet the needs of our students. But I don’t want us to miss the opportunity in terms of what we’re hearing loud and clear from our colleagues who are faculty and staff at institutions. Burnout is something in terms of climate surveys and assessments that our colleagues are communicating with us loud and clear. And so we have to be mindful that we have to take care of the individuals that take care of our students. So that’s another part or a level of this that I think we have to keep at a front consideration. So absolutely I appreciate the question and note that we have to put additional resources and think about strategic collaboration across institution types to move this work forward, but to also think about what that means for our staff and faulty in support as well. GOLDRICK-RAB: I agree. I would say that we have to keep in mind that many institutions don’t have any dollars to spare, and that clearly this is going to require federal support. And I think that even as we’re sitting here right now there is discussion of a package. You know, the reconciliation is going on. And one piece of that package is $9 billion for student supports. And I think the question about the prioritization of those funds and where institutions plan to spend those funds, if they are to come—if they were to become reality, is a critical part of the conversation. You know, the mental health needs of students across the United States were greatest at the nation’s community colleges before the pandemic. And those are the places that had the least level of supports in place. And it wasn’t from lack of recognition of the problem; it was from lack of money. And so we have to acknowledge that we already had profound inequities, we already had mental health crises. The Healthy Minds Study has been documenting these things for years. And, yes, the current situation’s making it worse. I do want to point out, though, that there are two dimensions to this current situation. One is the pandemic and the effects of the social isolation. The second is the effect of this virus. The Hope Center recently released, to my knowledge, the only study out there on the effect of the virus on college students. And our analyses across about a hundred thousand students across the nation show that it seems that having been infected with this virus is associated with increased anxiety, depression, and food insecurity. And I’m concerned, frankly, that a number of our institutions are not doing anything to allow students to disclose if they have been affected, so that we could direct more support to them. Now, I understand we can’t require it—and, you know, there’s a big distinction. But these students are at real risk of potentially long COVID effects, and so are staff and faculty. And I think that it is not only urgent that we adjust these challenges, but that we also do the triage that, unfortunately, we have to do because we have limited resources, and perhaps focus them on the populations that have been infected at the highest rates. Which, of course, include Black and brown and indigenous students, and also include student parents, and also include student athletes at very, very high rates. And I think that we’d better attend to it, or we’re going to see a lot of ongoing problems. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Sara, I would like to get the link for that survey, and we can circulate it to the group. And any other resources that both of you would like us to share we will follow up with an email. So I’m going to go next to Lucy Dunderdale Cate. And please unmute yourself. Q: Hi. My name is Lucy Dunderdale Cate. I’m with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I wanted to get your thoughts on just how for leadership, you know, for chancellors, for presidents, how should they be communicating to students that are dealing with these issues? And particularly thinking about it—you know, students, but faculty and staff as well, and particularly being sensitive to that kind of toxic positivity that so often is easy for leaders to do. At the same time, wanting to still be encouraging and to be, you know, we can do this together feeling, but not being toxically positive. Would just love to get your thoughts on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: So my team is very taken with the research on empathy and care. And I think that a lot of folks often think that that is, you know, kind of glossing over, or maybe just too touchy-feely. But it’s a very effective approach. And what it really means is starting by understanding your students as humans before you think about them as students. Just like we want our doctors to think about as humans before they think about us as patients. It changes the conversation. And what that means is that if you have important information to share with the students that you start with an open acknowledgement that this is a really tough time, right? That we don’t gloss over that or skip past that. That we do give them many, many, many openings to be able to speak to somebody—whether that’s a peer-to-peer, right, whether that’s speak to a professional, whatever that is. And that we continue to not just—it’s important, frankly, that we don’t just cheerlead and push people, I think as you might be alluding to, towards, you know, just keep going, just stay in, everything is fine, but openly acknowledge that everybody right now is really slogging through it and that coping is incredibly difficult. And I think that the one other piece is that, in my view, this starts with leadership. This really is not effective and cannot happen if the president doesn’t embrace it, because it really trickles down from there, frankly. And it has to be in multiple places. So this should be reflected in a statement that’s on every syllabus, right? It should show up on the management system, it should show up in correspondence. You know, anything that the institution can do to remind students that they get it. Cutting red tape right now, right? Removing more bureaucracy, relieving and getting out of any kinds of requirements that are not necessary—all of those things are human-centered things. PICKETT: I appreciate everything that Sara offered. And I double down on that in terms of thinking about the senior administrative approach to this. Certainly, there exists consultative means to engage students, and I think we utilize those. Having had the opportunity to work on different kinds of campuses, I do think it’s mindful for us to be attentive of the populations that don’t easily have ready access to senior administration. Having had the opportunity to serve at a community college, quite often we know that there is a more guided path to get directly to student input and feedback. But I think it’s critical to use the necessary means to get directly to students. I think the intentionality that Sara points out in terms of having empathetic messages communicated in different mediums is critical. Whether we’re using social media, whether we’re doing that on our syllabi, whether we’re doing that specifically as it relates to the messages that we put out to the campus community, I think there has to be consistency in the chorus that speaks to the empathy of the now and how we’re working to navigate this together. The toxic positivity that you referenced I think is prevalent at a number of institutions. And for us to be mindful of what that means—one of the ways that we were able to execute that here at the University of Pittsburgh was a townhall series that we put in place for all stakeholders called This is Not Normal, to just identify collectively as a community that what we’re experiencing is absolutely abnormal, and to talk about what that experience was, and to think about collectively how we could move as a community to respond to the needs and to have ongoing triage and collective concern and outreach by all constituents. And I think to do that, and to be attentive to those populations that are most removed from senior administration, is something that we have to do. So utilizing our colleagues at all levels, specifically looking at peer mentoring models that offer opportunity to have communication with students, and to think about starting those messages during the orientation process is a front and center consideration to move that agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson. Q: So, Pearl Robinson. I do African politics, international relations, African studies at Tufts University. This being the Council on Foreign Relations, I want to bring up the issue of study abroad. And certainly, last year Tufts both undergraduate and graduate study abroad international relations is very important. The university decided it had to bring home students from all of our study abroad programs except Oxford, which was deemed safe. And we were told how everybody was living with families. And of course, at the end of—they had to eventually bring those people home again. So now we’re talking about our study abroad programs. Will we have one in Ghana? I had counseled two students who are going to be studying Africa at either at SOAS or LSE. Maybe we have to shut down Africa because it’s too dangerous. I actually want to know, are there are universities that are thinking about the implications of creating—or, not having study abroad opportunities for students in non-European places, and ways in which you might be able to do things? Like, I participated in a couple of very exciting webinars with African universities where there’s some kind of interaction. So I just want to know, has anybody been thinking about that? And does the Council maybe have that on its agenda? Have you been doing it secretly and I didn’t know about it? FASKIANOS: We can look at it for a future topic, Pearl. Do either of you want to? GOLDRICK-RAB: I don’t have any expertise in this space, except to say that I spoke to folks at AIEA yesterday and, you know, they’re very concerned about students’ health and wellbeing. PICKETT: And the same on my end. I wouldn’t have anything in terms of expertise to offer but would say from an administrative standpoint it’s intentional for us to be mindful of the different opportunities that we engage with, and to use an equity lens with regard to how we’re monitoring those experiences. I know loud and clear as we think about race and ethnicity being a front and consideration as part of this pandemic and our response to be mindful of the ramifications and the impact on different communities. So leadership should put that front and center in consideration, but in terms of specific things that I’ve seen directly, nothing that I could offer. But I do—should I find information I’ll definitely pass it along to Irina. FASKIANOS: And just to follow on a bit, granted from a different angle, what about the pandemic-related inequities facing international studies? What is the—you know, on your campus, the international studies, and have they been able to come this year? And maybe that would be an opportunity to create some international experiences on campus. PICKETT: Absolutely. I think different institutions obviously are in different places with regard to that. We’ve had a number of students who have been able to return to campus. But to mindful that there has been a significant impact, particularly as they think about housing and what the experience is like in the community. And as we think about, particularly depending on where individuals come from, how they self-identify, and the rising tide of what I would classify as racism and xenophobia potentially impacting those students is a consideration that we have to put front and center. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would say that, you know, again, we had big problems before the pandemic with folks not being able to really afford to be here the way they had hoped to be able to really afford to be here. We had students—international students at food pantries well before the pandemic. You know, certainly the number who can’t be here at all right now is one issue, but I also want to note that one good thing is that the federal government’s Higher Education Relief Funds, the HEERF III dollars in particular, which came out this year, which provided emergency aid to students, does not require students to be United States citizens in order to get those funds. It doesn’t even require them to fill out a FAFSA either. So institutions, all of them that receive Title IV, have a substantial amount of emergency aid dollars right now which they could choose to leverage to support international students. Furthermore, their institutional allocations of those same dollars can also be used for those purposes. And so in this case, again, everyone is a human. And we do not have to choose to treat people differently based on that status as an international student. I don’t know how widespread that understanding is. It’s very clear, frankly, in the federal FAQs. But that’s stuff the lawyers read. And I’m concerned that people who advocate for these students might not be aware of this. Or maybe they’re not being heard in terms of where the dollars are going to be put. PICKETT: I’d double down on what Sara offers in terms of us thinking about the institutional ethos for support for those students and that student population. How we prioritize that agenda and how we amplify the voices of advocates, particularly for our international students, is a front and center consideration that was present, again, before—you’re noticing a trend here—was present before the pandemic. But nonetheless, one that we have to continue to prioritize as a consideration. And as those dollars are available, institutions being willing to make the appropriate allocations and supplement them where necessary to continue to support different students populations, including our international students. FASKIANOS: Thank you. While we wait for a few more questions to queue up, how about the digital inequity? I know, Sara, you said before we got started that you were teaching all online. So the digital inequity has been a big concern, and we’ve really seen that, as well as, you know, people not wanting to turn on their cameras because, you know, they are sharing spaces, and might not want to show their homes, and all of that. So can you talk a little bit about how—what you’re thinking on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I mean, it’s a huge issue. So, I mean, the first thing is, again, I keep saying before the pandemic. But, you know, I spent twelve years living in Wisconsin. We had tons of college students all over the state who did not have broadband access, OK? So, you know, and it was a time when, frankly, the state was cutting—well, it’s continued to cut state support—but it was cutting back the ability of in-person campuses to even be there and telling people to go online. And there really wasn’t real ability to do that. So this, again, is a longstanding problem. We have the same challenge here in Pennsylvania, especially in rural communities. I am teaching online right now. And I want to say that, you know, part of the reason is because there’s a whole population of students that want online instruction. These are people who would have to commute quite a long ways to get to school. These are people who have children and are juggling that. These are people who have health challenges and/or other disabilities, right? So there is an appetite for online instruction. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is not only do they have the technology for online instruction, but also who has access to teachers who are comfortable, and well-trained, and good at online instruction? And unfortunately, because we have not made those investments—and, frankly, I think we should view those as infrastructure investments—we did not resource the people who need to do the teaching so they can be prepared. Then we have some of the most vulnerable students getting taught by teachers with the least time and ability to able to kind of pivot like this. We do also have a workforce, frankly, of a lot of folks in wealthier parts of higher education where professors don’t think of themselves as teachers. They think of themselves as researchers, and so on. And so getting them to invest the time to learn to teach online is also a challenge. That said, it can be done well. And, frankly, a student doesn’t need to turn on their camera to be engaged in a course. And to me, the fact that we keep having that conversation—which is, you know, far from just your question, everybody’s asking that question—tells me that we have people who are not taught about how to do engagement with students who can’t turn on their cameras. I open up multiple channels for students to be able to interact with me while I’m teaching. They message, OK? They can hit on Slack. I run multiple things. But it requires that I know how to do that and that I am suited to that task. So the last part is this: I mean, here in Philadelphia it’s hard to believe, you know, that people would really have trouble getting on the internet. But they really do because they can’t afford their internet bills. And so I have multiple students right now who are telling me that they’re accessing everything using their phone, not on their laptops. Their phone is their laptop essentially. And they don’t have wireless, so they have very spotty service. So they didn’t even know that our university offers hotspots now. And so one big part is informational, connecting them to that. PICKETT: I think it’s critical, appended to the comments that Sara makes, to be attentive of different populations. Certainly, it’s pronounced—it was pronounced at the beginning of the pandemic that there were a number of issues with access to broadband internet in different communities. Obviously having spent time in the state of Minnesota and thinking about the native and indigenous population and the opportunities where there was limited broadband access there, as well as hardware limitations, those are considerations that I think a number of communities have pronounced as areas of consideration. And that’s true, I think, for different areas. Certainly, that’s true in western Pennsylvania. And as Sara points out, we have a number of students of different backgrounds and of varying means economically that choose to access their courses via cellphone. So to think about the different kinds of instruction and how we’re supporting our colleagues to observe equitable practices in a virtual environment, and to think about how we have to systematize that and appropriately educate our colleagues deliver that kind of instruction is a consideration. I think the other areas of consideration, particularly as we’re thinking about digital accessibility or the conversations about general academic support in different models of delivery—so whether we’re thinking about asynchronous delivery of instruction or the different modalities of learning, to be mindful that different student populations respond to different ways and different things. And to put that as part of our consideration for the academic agenda is a consideration that I think we need to be mindful of. FASKIANOS: And just, if we could hearken back to your experience at the Community College of Allegheny, Clyde, just to talk about the disparities at community college. I know, Sara, you touched upon it, about the mental health crisis that existed before the pandemic and is, you know, they couldn’t address it because of lack of resources. But it would be interesting to hear your perspective, Clyde, from what you’ve experienced. PICKETT: Absolutely. Having had the opportunity to work directly at the Community College of Allegheny County, as well as the State System of Higher Education in Minnesota, and to serve thirty-seven community and technical colleges, it’s critical for us to put an equity lens in terms of thinking about the access to hardware and to digital resources for all of our student populations. We know that those inequities existed before that. But in a more pronounced way when we pivoted and made the jump to remote instruction, for a number of institutions and individuals there was the need to provide access to hardware as well as to digital networks for students. And those gaps existed before and exist now. I think as we think about availability of resources, that is an area of consideration. The other thing as we think about this is modality of learning, and how different populations respond to different kinds of learning. And so that’s another consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda and how we work proactively to meet the needs of different learners to make available appropriate support, whether it’s online models for tutoring or expanded academic support for advisors—a consideration particularly at our community and technical colleges that I think is a necessity. The other consideration, and Sara talked about this in terms of the equity lens and experience, to equip our educators with utilizing appropriate training and education to not bias how they engage with learners depending on how they interface with the use of technology. To shut one’s camera off should not at all impact how an individual engages with what’s expected of them in the classroom and certain situations. So to be mindful and to communicate equitable approaches to that exchange I think is a consideration. FASKIANOS: Are there any places that you would suggest for people who would want to sort of dig in on how to better do that? I think, Sara, you mentioned Digital Pedagogy Lab as a resource. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would really highly recommend Digital Pedagogy Lab. That’s my absolute favorite resource out there. And they do institutes, and they do trainings, and so on. And I really do recommend taking a look. FASKIANOS: Great. In the work that you’ve been doing, Sara, you know, we’ve seen a lot of reports about the impact of the pandemic on women, and how many women have left the workforce because the childcare issues, and whatnot. So have you done any studies on women leaving college? And you said—I believe you said one in four have a child. So how does that fall out? GOLDRICK-RAB: Well, so I will tell you, the interesting thing about higher ed is that even though women have a substantial number of challenges, they are less likely than men to drop out. And that’s been true for a long time. There are many books written about why men are less likely to attend college, why they’re more likely to drop out of college, and so on and so forth. Even though, frankly, you know, a woman—like, the disproportionate number, for example, of people with children in higher education are single moms. There are single dads, for the record. There are married dads. All of the different things are there as well. I would not say that we have done studies, therefore, of them dropping out during this time. But we have done studies of their basic needs and their basic need security during this time. And what I can tell you is that students with children are more likely to not have their basic needs met, to have struggles with food, and housing, and so on and so forth. We don’t see really pronounced gender differences, except that I would say that gender nonconforming students, actually, are much more likely to face these challenges and to find that they’re really struggling financially. Some of the reason for that, we suspect, has to do with the way that financial aid is allocated. Those students are less likely to be able to access parental resources that make it look like the family has money, even though the student is not getting any of that support. But parenting while in college is already really difficult. And it’s especially hard in the pandemic. Students report not being able to concentrate, right? They report juggling all kinds of additional challenges. And I will say, the schools reopening right now is far from an easy thing. So you know, in many districts across the country, including here in Philadelphia, the schools are intermittently open. We have had, you know, a given class where there’s a COVID infection, and then suddenly the class is shut down. The school’s open, but the student can’t go because their class is closed for the week—they’re quarantining. This is wreaking havoc for students. I have more students than ever who are saying they don’t know what one week is going to be like to the next. And, frankly, the same thing is true for us parents who are staff and faculty. I am ready at the drop of a hat right now to run down and pick my kids up, because we—you know, we had—we’ve had COVID infections, we had a flood thanks to a hurricane and a tornado. I mean, there’s—you know, so—(laughs)—it is—it is a remarkable time to try to keep anything education going right now. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to just ask people, we’re coming to the end of our time. So if you have other questions—I have a whole list of questions. So I can—I can keep going on. (Laughs.) But I don’t want to filibuster here, so please raise your hands. Clyde, can you talk a little bit more about as you think about DEI leadership, how DEI leaders can encourage their institutions to think more strategically about how they take care of Black and brown population, and deal with these pandemic-related inequities? PICKETT: Absolutely. I think part of this is for us to think intentionally about how we monitor, check in, and think about the engagement of those populations on our campuses. Loud and clear as we manage and examine enrollment trends at the institutions, I think we need to be mindful of what the presence of our population is for Black and brown communities as part of our institutions, and to be attentive of that. We’re reminded that in the midst of this pandemic was the continued push for racial equity and racial equity in this country. And so a number of institutions, at the same time dealing with the challenge associated with the pandemic, also made renewed commitments to attract and retain more diverse populations across the academy. We saw a number of institutions that made commitments to attract more faculty of color, to be attentive of what it means to support scholars of color, particularly those who are Black and brown. And so thinking about what that means in terms of DEI strategy work is to be mindful of the different populations, and to assess those experiences as they have come to our institution. So we’re having a lot of conversations across the academy to think about not only the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic of racism and how it continues to impact our colleagues across the institution, more specifically our students. And so as we think about this DEI strategy, to be mindful of how we examine the experiences of our students and to think about the examination of sense of belonging as they come to our institutions, as well as how they’re assessing the experiences for holistic support. So giving the opportunity for our colleagues who are DEI strategists to have access to the data in terms of thinking about those student experiences, and how we can influence and shape policy as a consideration for the work that we do. One of the things that I will point to as a consideration, that we’ve had some success in a previous role from a systems standpoint, was to use an equity-based lens approach to reviewing all of our policies, when I was at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And that resource and tool is available online. And we did that to provide real time opportunity for us to think about the policy implications for different populations. And there were a number of things that we unearthed as part of that experience, whether it was a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities with our financial (holes ?), or to think about other considerations, those are kinds of—the kinds of tools that we can utilize to further move an agenda forward. So I would say that those are things that we have to use as a resource to move our agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Have you seen there to be a decline in enrollment as well? PICKETT: Obviously it depends on the institution type. So we know that community and technical colleges have suffered enrollment challenges as part of the pandemic. The University of Pittsburgh, we’re at record enrollment for Black and brown communities here at the university. So I think the institution type, the resources associated with the institution, also obviously impact how and the ways institutions are able to move agenda. So to be mindful of that is a consideration that I think we have to examine. As we think about federal support for higher education—and I know Sara referenced this earlier—that’s a consideration. As we think about the institutions who are the haves versus those been most fragile. It requires us to think about how we make specific allocation federally to influence and support those institutions. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So if you were advising the Biden administration, the secretary of education, what would be the top two things that you would suggest the Biden administration to do in hiring? GOLDRICK-RAB: I am advising the Biden administration secretary of education. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: There you go. GOLDRICK-RAB: So do you want to know what we’re advising them? (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: I do, actually. (Laughs.) GOLDRICK-RAB: I will say, for anybody who’s interested, actually I testified before Congress yesterday in front of the U.S. House of Representatives around some of the work that they need to be doing. And I really urge folks in higher ed to take a look because the conversation was about hunger and food insecurity, and the committee was the Committee on Rules. And I worry a lot that our higher ed folks are not watching that committee or the committees outside of the education committees. But I believe that Jim McGovern is actually going to play a leading role in what’s going to happen for our students and their basic needs in that space. So it’s at rules.house.gov. And you can see the hearing from yesterday. I think one of the most exciting things that is about to happen is that a man named James Kvaal is finally going to take his seat and get to do his job as undersecretary of education. You know, our secretary of education is a K-12 expert. And I’ve been really glad to see him bring on some great folks like Eloy Oakley Ortiz from the California Community Colleges as an advisor. But James Kvaal is a higher ed expert. And the undersecretary of education’s role is absolutely critical. And one of the things that he is intending to do, and that we need him to do, is to put somebody in charge of making sure that we change rules and regulations and administrative minutia to help secure students’ basic needs now. So this is the time to make sure that our students get access to SNAP, right? To make sure that we connect them to the child tax credit. There are so many things that are available to students beyond standard financial aid. And right now, the Department of Ed doesn’t tell them about any of those things. So that is absolutely imperative. And I also will say that with regard to the reconciliation bill and what the House is doing right now in terms of markup, free community college is in there and it needs to be. And it needs to happen. And it needs to pass. And the time is now. And I think that we will never regret that move. I believe that just as we expanded access to K-12 education starting with elementary school and then moving through high school, we should absolutely go for free community college. It will not be the last thing that we do, but I think it’s essential. You know, I don’t know how much folks remember the last recession, but I was doing a lot of research during that time. And I’ll tell you that all the growth in the enrollment, all the returning growth to higher ed came, right, from students going to community colleges, and came from largely part-time folks. And so we’re going to see people returning because they need higher education. And we need to make sure that those institutions are able to help them succeed. A lot of people think going to community college is not the best move. You know, they don’t have the best outcomes. And I have one really clear answer for you: You get what you pay for. If you give them the resources and you give the students the resources so that they go to institutions and they actually can focus on learning and not worrying about if they have to eat, they will graduate and they will do well. PICKETT: I, of course, double down on that support for thinking about how we make community college accessible to all. Obviously, a long-standing advocate for community and technical colleges. It’s something that is a priority for me. And we know statistically the largest populations of Black and brown students who ultimately complete a four-year degree start at community and technical colleges. So that has to be a priority. And I think in terms of funding and making that a priority, it is a consideration absolutely that we have to keep front and center. The other thing that I would offer is for us to think continually about how we support intentional holistic support. Whether it’s mental health support, how we address housing insecurity and food insecurity for consideration for our college students has to be a consideration as well, and to be mindful of what that means long-term. It’s an investment in our future of the country. And so I think we have to be mindful that while there is an investment now, long-term it will yield considerable benefits for us as a nation, and for us to not only provide access, but holistic support during that process ultimately will put us in a much better place and lead us down a greater path holistically in terms of where we want to be in the future for this country. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And I’m going to go now to Elsa Dias, who has her hand raised. Q: Yes. I am. Thank you. I am a—I am faculty at a community college in Colorado—at Pikes Peak Community College. And I’m—so to support some of what is being said currently here. But I don’t think that students are getting what they’re paying for at community colleges. I think that they’re getting much more than what they are getting at community colleges. So that statement is sort of—I don’t know that I appreciate the statement, because I think that students at community colleges we are working with consistently cut budgets, more so than four schools. And we have much more difficulty in raising tuition. It’s not the same thing as in—as in four-year schools. We deal with populations that are in higher need than four-year schools. And we have to meet very different criteria than four-year schools. Our standards in terms of meeting what the students need and what—we are heavily legislated upon, right? So there is these state legislations that sort of affect us very differently than they do four-year schools. So I do believe that students are getting much more than what they are given, and what they get at community colleges. And some of the things that we see today, during this pandemic at community colleges, are I think the stigma to go to community colleges is certainly—continues to be around. And we continue to not participate in many of the voices that we should be included in at the table. But I also think that it’s important to realize that our administrators are faced with much higher challenges than administrators at four-year schools, and so in the faculty. And the lack of investment in faculty at four-year schools does not even come close to the lack of investments that we suffer at community colleges. We have to do a lot more with a lot less. Thank you. GOLDRICK-RAB: So if I may respond, I think maybe, Elsa, I wasn’t entirely heard for what I was saying. What I was saying was that you are doing a tremendous amount with very little. And the point is when you say what you get what you pay for, right, is if we want to have 100 percent graduation rates at community colleges, the way we do at Harvard, then we should be resourcing the schools, including the faculty, the student support services, et cetera. What we do in higher education is that we give the schools that educate the most vulnerable the least amount of money on a per-student basis. So for example, if you take a look—I served on the national taskforce around the adequate funding for the nation’s community colleges. That was all about showing that if you were going to fund community college adequately to actually address the needs of students, and to do so where they would much—have much higher rates of graduation and success in the completion of their programs, you would be spending approximately four to five to six times what you’re currently spending. I outline all of this in a very extensive—I have about a fifty-page report called “The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Community Colleges,” which came out in 2010, which actually delineates the underspending on community college faculty, on community college staff, and so on and so forth. I think, given the severe economic disparities between these institutions, their students, and the four-year colleges, it’s a miracle that in many ways we get anything, right? That students are able to graduate, because we spend so very, very little. So as a quick last example, in the state of New Jersey taxpayer support goes to Princeton University at fifty times the rate of taxpayer support going to New Jersey Community Colleges. Fifty times. So we should expect, right, that if we increased the support to students at those community colleges there is a strong relationship between the inputs of the finances and the outputs that they produce. I think it’s worthy of a greater investment. So I think we’re actually agreeing. FASKIANOS: Clyde, anything you would like to add? PICKETT: Well, just that loud and clear I hear the comments and what Elsa brings in. I appreciate the clarity from Sara there. Having had the opportunity to be an administrator at a community college and a developmental studies adjunct faculty member at a community college, I know loud and clear that we’re working proactively to meet the needs of our learners in a way that supports them where they are. And we do transformational work. To be clear, that that transformational work should be embraced, welcomed, and supported by four-year institutions. So those of us who are working and serving on the four-year institution side of the house to actually normalize and champion access to community and technical colleges, and to do so in such a way that embraces and makes smooth pipelines and opportunities for our learners who transfer—who complete their education, and to make sure there are appropriate matriculation agreements for programs of study for our students who ultimately complete their four-year education at institutions like the University of Pittsburgh, but start at community and technical colleges. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We are almost out of time, so I wanted to give you each a few minutes to just touch upon anything we didn’t touch upon or cover or leave us with some final thoughts. So, Sara, why don’t we start with you and then we’ll go to Clyde. GOLDRICK-RAB: Clyde was about to go. Please go, Clyde. FASKIANOS: Clyde was about to go. All right, Clyde. PICKETT: No, I appreciate the opportunity. Once again, thank you for allowing me to spend time with you, allowing me to be with you in community. And this is just an opportunity for us to reaffirm where we are in terms of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And more specifically, to acknowledge that the areas of vulnerability that we’ve identified, the inequity, have been longstanding with regard to the academy. It’s an opportunity for us to flip the mirror and have a very long pause, intentional look at how we can make remedy, how we can make change, and how we can affirm and, for some of us, reaffirm our commitment and responsibility to address the inequity that has been present, but has been further exacerbated as part of this pandemic. So now is the time for us to close equity gaps. Now is the time for us to take action. And I look forward to standing with colleagues all around the country to do so. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would just say that, you know, the challenges are really big right now, but there’s also a lot of room for structural change. And I think we need to speak up for it and advocate for it, and not just lament it, right? You know, each of us in this country has a representative, or a couple of them, or a bunch of them, right? And they need to hear about what’s happening to higher education. It’s really, really important. One aspect of the hearing yesterday that was absolutely fascinating occurred when there was an exchange between Representative Cole, who came from Oklahoma, and the panel. And what he said was—he sat back in his chair. And he said: I’ve got to tell you, I’ve learned something today. I did not know that college students could go hungry. I did not know that this was happening. He said, we have to do something about this. Folks, tell them about what’s going on, because they do not know—many of them do not know. I’m not saying that they’ll all act, but many, many of our public leaders are very, very distanced from the realities that we’re facing, whether we’re staff, whether we’re administrators, whether we’re faculty. They are not getting it. And I think that it is so important that we communicate as much as we can because they have some big work to do right now, and some big opportunities to create change. FASKIANOS: Thank you, both. This was a really great conversation. We appreciate your insights in sharing your experience with us. And we will put together all the resources that were mentioned here and send them out to all of you to read and digest. You can follow both of our speakers on Twitter, @saragoldrickrab and @cwpick. So please go there. Again, I want to thank Dr. Goldrick-Rab and Dr. Pickett for being with us today. Next week we have a dedicated webinar series for students. And so our first one will be next week of the semester on September 15, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, and it’s a great opportunity for students to actually ask their questions. This series is devoted to administrators and professors, but that one is for the students. And we hope you will share with your students and with your colleagues too on campus. So our next Education Webinar for the higher ed community will be on Thursday, October 21, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time with Brian Mateo to talk about civic engagement in higher education. So I hope you’ll join us next week and in October of the next one. So with that I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter. Visit CFR.org and ForeignAffairs.com for more information and resources on international affairs. And again, thank you both. We really appreciate it. (END)
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    Adam Julian, director of international student and scholar services at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and 2021 chair of the international student and scholar regulatory practice committee at NAFSA, discusses visa challenges for foreign students and international student enrollment with the return to in-person learning this fall.    IRINA FASKIANOS: Good afternoon and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I'm Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at the Council on Foreign Relations. Today's discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We're delighted to have Adam Julian with us to talk about visa challenges for foreign students and fall international student enrollment. We've shared his bio with you, but I'll just give you a few highlights. Mr. Julian is the director of international student and scholar services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the 2021 to 2022 chair of the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. From 2015 to 2020, he was the director of international student and scholar services and outreach at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Adam, thanks very much for being with us today. Obviously, we are coming off this pandemic. I thought we could start by looking at the primary visa challenges foreign students are facing now and what this means for international student enrollment, as schools return to in-person learning this fall. ADAM JULIAN: Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Irina. And I appreciate the invitation and all the work that the Council on Foreign Relations does in this sphere. And it's an honor to be here today. So I wanted to start today with just discussing a few points. And a lot of this I know is information that will not be new to anyone, but hopefully it will spur some good conversation and some good dialogue amongst the group. And so today, I'll touch largely on some visa challenges for foreign students who want to study in the U.S., not necessarily only in the moment, sort of in the COVID sense, but also just in general some of the challenges for foreign students. Also, I want to touch a little bit about my experience, as the chair of the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee with NAFSA, and how liaising with federal agencies and our partner agencies, how that's really changed, in particular under the Biden administration, in the last couple of years. And then finally I want to talk a little bit about some international enrollment challenges and tensions for the fall semester, really things in the moment. And so, what I want to say about visa challenges for foreign students, and really, of all of the English-speaking destination countries for higher education, so think the UK, think Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere, the U.S. visa, I would argue, is more expensive and difficult to obtain and comes with fewer benefits in terms of post-graduation work opportunities, in terms of paths to citizenship or permanent residency, than any of its competitors. But despite this, I think the U.S. is still largely seen as one of the best systems of higher education in the world, and U.S. education is still highly sought after by international students. So, when I say it's challenging and difficult for students to obtain a visa, when you think about it just in terms of cost alone, right, if you take into consideration the SEVIS fee, which is the immigration database the Department of Homeland Security and others use, the application fee for the visa itself. That alone is $510. And that's not to mention the cost of travel to a different city. Most of the time, U.S. consulates, depending on the country, as you all know, are either in the capital city or regional city, an applicant may have to provide or may have to travel and stay overnight, take time away from work, all these different things just simply for the opportunity to apply for an interview. This gets especially complicated in other geopolitical complications, think of the case of an Iranian student who has no U.S. Embassy in their home country to apply to and has to go to a third-party country, typically Yerevan or Ankara third-party consulate and it adds an additional cost. So, there's that piece, which is the cost of the visa itself, within even simply to receive an invitation letter or what's known as a Form I-20, from an institution of higher education or any type of institution authorized to issue those in the United States, students have to provide proof of financial solvency for twelve calendar months, just to be eligible to receive this. So, in addition to the cost of the actual application process and applying itself, this system of having to establish twelve months or greater of financial solvency, really, I would argue, creates some real inequity in who is able to access higher education in the U.S., and it's largely only available to the wealthy, since mobility to the U.S., is really, for the most part, only accessible to those who happen to have the means. So, once you've applied for the visa, and you show up to the embassy, you've gone through all these steps, then the way the U.S. immigration law and regulations are structured, is the burden of proof to overcome this idea of immigrant intent, or the idea that you the applicant, are intending to immigrate to the United States and the consular officers are trained to make that assumption, the burden of overcoming that is on the applicant. And most of the times, those of you who I'm sure have been to many U.S. embassies abroad, they're perhaps not the most welcoming and friendly places. Oftentimes, these interviews take place under very stressful conditions, they must be in person in a language that is not an applicant's native language, the majority of the time. And so, if the goal is for the applicant to overcome nonimmigrant intent, to prove to the consular officer that they do plan to return to their home country, they have to establish what's known as home country ties. If you're a 17-year-old or 18-year-old student who's going to study in the United States and is applying for a visa, how do you own property? How do you articulate what your plan for the future is, when you may not even know what you're going to study in the U.S.? Another, I think, aspect of this that makes it very difficult, particularly on the visa acquisition side, it’s really just, frankly speaking, it's more difficult to get a visa from “sample” state university than from Harvard, or an Ivy or a university that has international name recognition, right? So having to overcome that bias that may be there from a consular officer is also a significant challenge. So, in summary, for the visa acquisition process, and some of the challenges in general, it really is, it's the most arduous process for any, in my opinion, for any student visa, with the least beneficial results—no path to citizenship, really strict regulations, really strict vetting, very limited work opportunities for students in the U.S. So I want to turn now to my role at NAFSA and the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee and how things have been different under the Biden administration. And as Irina mentioned, I've been a member of ISSRP in some capacity since 2016. I've been chairing the group since 2020. And the difference between the last six months versus the previous five years is truly night and day, I sort of like to describe it as this administration is really less deliberately obstinate, or we've gone back to having a partner and not an adversary. Life is more predictable, more steady for people who have jobs such as mine working with international students and scholars and doing a lot of regulatory work. And I'll give you a few examples just of how that's changed in the first couple of months of this administration. A lot of people on the call may know that the Department of Homeland Security issued some temporary relief or some extra guidance or exceptions for international students during the COVID pandemic. And that has been a process that's been continuing to be updated and extended, sort of piecemeal and it's been a very much a piece of concern for administrators and in higher education for the students and scholars that impact it, but within several months, the new administration issued guidance all the way through the entire academic year. And I think a lot of us really view that as a statement of solidarity and support that we're in this together and we're not going to continue to create a situation that's in flux and unstable and unreliable and subject to change rapidly. The administration also did away with the Trump administration's plan to create an OPT Compliance Enforcement Unit. Under ICE—this was one of the last few months of the Trump administration—there was an announcement that the Department of Homeland Security and ICE were going to create an OPT, Optional Practical Training, form of work authorization for international students, they were going to create an enforcement unit. That was cancelled within the first several weeks of the administration. Other things, the idea of making some significant changes that are less student friendly to OPT, Optional Practical Training, to duration of status, or the length of which a student or scholar can remain in the U.S., we're always on the regulatory horizon, or the agenda, of the past administration. And those things are no longer on the chopping block, so to speak. And so really, it's been a different sense of having a partner, having an adversary in our direct liaison work, we just completed our annual conference at NAFSA. And my group is responsible for facilitating the sessions where we invite government representatives to come and discuss trends and topics and questions around international students and scholars and regulations. The past four years, just frankly speaking, organizing these events were very challenging because there was a fear among our agency partners, I think, what they may say, or what they may be not allowed to say, don't want to be seen as saying something on the record. This was a fundamentally different experience, this year, more collegial, more positive in nature. For the first time in many, many years, we were able to have some liaison with Citizenship and Immigration Services. And just in general, this has really helped the, I would say, perception, and overall sense of optimism among international educators and international students and scholars who are looking to come and study in the U.S. So, finally, where are things right now, with international enrollment? What are the tensions? I think anybody's guess is as good as mine. I think right now, the biggest challenge that a lot of us are dealing with is simply the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consular operations, it's very, very difficult, if not impossible, to get an appointment, to get a visa. Many posts simply aren't operating. That's often case-by-case, country-by-country, post-by-post specific depending on the public health situation. Those that are operating are experiencing significant backlogs. Speaking for a little bit about the experiences of students at UMBC, we had a lot of students who had originally intended to arrive in August of 2020, but because of the pandemic, had deferred until January, and had deferred again until August. And so that's created a significant backlog. And the U.S. Department of State has very graciously, I think, announced their intention to really prioritize student and scholar mobility. But, we can only do so much with the resources that we have. I think other challenges that we're facing, aside from just lack of visa availability or just navigating travel restrictions, at the top, I mentioned the case of an Iranian student who may have to travel to Armenia or to Azerbaijan to apply for a U.S. student visa, how does that student or scholar navigate the travel restrictions that are in place because of COVID? Whether or not they're at the national level, whether or not they're airline specific, based at the specific console, it's a lot to keep track of and to navigate and very difficult and case-specific. One of the things I think that's kind of interesting is, say what you will about how the U.S. handled the COVID situation, but in a sense, where we are now has in a way turned into a bit of a competitive advantage, it is easier to come to the U.S. than to a lot of our competitor English-speaking higher education receiving countries. And I think, for a particular example, the UK is requiring a mandatory ten-day quarantine stay in a hotel when they arrive, and that's to the cost of the traveler. Australia and New Zealand have other stricter measures in place to prevent mobility of international visitors and travelers. And so, in a sense, that's turned into a bit of a competitive advantage. But it's really all about are students and scholars going to be able to get the visas? Right now, a lot of us are dealing with tensions and questions around vaccinations. It's a balance between personal safety. We want students to have that campus experience, we recognize the importance of the campus economy. And, just frankly speaking, I think that's what keeps a lot of U.S. higher education institutions afloat. And so for those of us who are requiring vaccines on our campuses, and if you're a student from X country who may not have access to a WHO-approved vaccine or a FDA-approved vaccine, how will that be dealt with when you arrive? Will we consider you vaccinated, will we provide you with a vaccine, do you risk your own personal health and safety and not get a vaccine, perhaps, the Russian-produced Sputnik vaccine or a vaccine that's not WHO-approved and then come to the U.S. and be required by a university to get a FDA-approved vaccine? There's really no, to my knowledge, understanding of the science of the effect of vaccine layering. And so students are making these difficult decisions right now. Do I get the vaccine that I have access to, and then take a risk of getting vaccinated again when I get to the U.S.? Do I not? I think that the last thing I would really want to say, I guess two final points about sort of tensions and maybe how we should be thinking about this right now. To me, the pandemic has really highlighted the importance of having a more strategic international enrollment plan. And by strategic, I mean, diversifying sources of enrollment. For students, a lot of institutions are one geopolitical issue or one pandemic or one natural disaster away from having a significant decrease in enrollment. I think the recent surge in COVID vaccine in India is a good example of that. Certainly, there are other cases throughout recent history, relations with China, the currency situation in South Korea several years ago, different types of things that have occurred. And so, I think the second point to that is we, I think, in the United States, really, we live in the moment, we don't think about the future, right? We are, to my knowledge, the only of our competitors, who don't have a national policy on international education. We don't have a whole of government approach, we don't have a strategic plan for how we will maintain ourselves as a preferred destination for higher education for students and scholars from around the world. And I think that's a short sighted and, in my opinion, I think there's lots of reasons for that. And with that, I'll leave my remarks and open it up to questions and hopefully some nice conversation. FASKIANOS: Great, thank you, Adam, for that. It's so complicated, and there's so much to navigate, as you described. We're going to go now to all of you for your questions, comments. So you can either raise your hand by clicking on the raised hand, or you can also write your question in the Q&A box, if you prefer to do it that way. But of course, we'd love to hear from you and hear your voice. So I'm going to go first to Katherine Moore, who has raised her hand. Please tell us what institution you're with, it will give us context. Be sure to unmute yourself. Katherine, you're still—there you go. Q: [Inaudible]. FASKIANOS: Adam, did you get that or was it breaking up too much to get it? JULIAN: I didn't get it, unfortunately. FASKIANOS: Okay. Katherine, would you mind just typing your question in the Q&A box? Because your connection is so poor, we could not decipher it. If that's okay, great. All right. I'm going to go next to going next to a written question Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, who is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College. She has two questions: “Are there any estimates of how much the U.S. lost in enrollments as the consequence of onerous student visa regulations, in terms of international students studying here?” And then her second question is, “One would have expected COVID-19 to increase barriers to international students’ access to U.S. education. But from your presentation, the U.S. is more accessible than other English-speaking countries. Hopefully, we won't have another wave of infections as most campuses reopened, but if we do how would that complicate the situation?” So that's a twofer. JULIAN: I'll start with the first question. I am not aware of any specific surveys or studies that have been done to really get at how immigration policy affects student mobility. I know that Institute of International Education publishes their Open Doors report every year, and that is essentially a census or an accounting of international student mobility. You can find that readily accessible and that will show you year over year comparisons. I also know that U.S. Department of State publishes their visa issuance rates. And so, those are also publicly available. And the second part of the question—Irina help me here—I think was we would assume that the COVID-19 pandemic would increase burdens, but that hasn't necessarily been the case, or increased obstacles for students. FASKIANOS: Right. JULIAN: I would say it certainly has increased obstacles. All of last year, most of U.S. universities were operating in fundamentally different circumstances in terms of in person or virtual, etc. And consulates were largely closed. And so, I would say during that time, absolutely, there were fundamentally more challenges. But I think, I guess the point I'm trying to make now, is that because we in the United States have, just being frank, have taken a much more laissez faire approach to public health, that now there are no national restrictions on entry as there are to other competitors. So, if I'm a student, particularly, who for the last two years has tried to think about I want to come to the United States, I want to study abroad for an advanced degree, you've got this pent up demand, and right now, really the only supply that's readily and easily accessible is the United States, in a sense. I mean, certainly there are ways to go to other competitor countries, but with fewer restrictions. I hope that gets at the question. FASKIANOS: Great. Let's go next to Susan Briziarelli, who is the assistant provost for global affairs at Adelphi University, “We've heard about plans to allow visa interviews to be conducted in the consoles virtually, is this still a possibility?” JULIAN: That is a great question. I've seen many, many rumors, and I know there's efforts afoot through AIEA and others to try to advocate for that. I have not heard anything from the Department of State or any of my colleagues that leads me to believe that is in the near future. I simply—this is my, Adam Julian, my personal opinion, not that University of Maryland, Baltimore County or NAFSA—that I simply just don't think that's in the cards anytime in the near future. I know a lot of people want that. And I know that would seemingly save a lot of problems, remove a lot of obstacles, rather, that we're facing. But I just don't see that happening. I hope I'm wrong. FASKIANOS: Next question from Martin Edwards, associate professor at Seton Hall University, “Are you aware of any conversations at the higher level to better coordinate communication between CBP DOS and USCIS?” JULIAN: Another great question. And I think about that. And the reason I say it's a great question is it's one that we're constantly asking and constantly getting different answers to, and it's really important. Think back to the early days of the Trump administration with the Muslim ban, if you remember when that executive order was signed and went into action, there were literally people in the air who, when they were in the air, the U.S. Customs Border Protection had no understanding that this was happening and only received this information as they came. And so I think that sort of interagency communication is absolutely critical, particularly in a situation live we’ve found ourselves in the last four or five years where you're having such rapidly changing regulations and things like that. Every time we ask this question, we get varying degrees, in particular, I think with CBP, you get a lot more communication amongst the Department of Homeland Security agencies, and not necessarily the Department of State's Consular Affairs or the Exchange Visitor program, because if you remember, CBP is part of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State is separate, in that sense. So, there's much more interagency cooperation. I know the couple of times that we asked that question at the most recent NAFSA annual conference of our agency partners, to a person, each one expressed the importance of that and that they take great strides to do it. But I'm not aware of any sort of specific actions or plans that are being made to facilitate better interagency communication, other than just to think right now, in this current climate, that's easier to happen naturally, particularly among the core career diplomats and career bureaucrats who are there administration to administration who perhaps no longer fear stepping out of line. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to go next to Hamdi Elnuzahi, who's raised their hand, assistant director for sponsored students at Minnesota State University, Mankato. So, if you could unmute yourself. Q: Hello. Thank you, Adam and you, for bringing this up here. I think it is a very important topic right now. And many of the schools are looking for how to strategically manage this issue to get more enrollment in the fall. It is not a question, but I just want to share something that is very important that may reduce or decrease the number of enrollments in the fall is the visa waiting time in many countries. Based on the information that I have, in more than eighty-six countries, the visa wait time could exceed sixty-five calendar days, up to maybe two hundred-something days, and most of the U.S. embassies in these countries maybe have only one option—emergency appointment. I think these applicants from these eighty-six countries, they don't have hope even to get a visa appointment, and they will not be able to come even if they get accepted. Second, if they want to enroll, they have to just to take the one option, to enroll online from the countries until they get an appointment. Mr. Adam, can you give us some insights about that, and how we can help these students in these countries? JULIAN: Thank you, those are some great points and I would be very happy to address them. I think the point about the significant delays and visa appointments, the time between when you can actually schedule an appointment, that's, I think, what most of us are dealing with right now, that's the most critical piece. And I think all I would say to that, I guess, would be in a positive sense, I know that back to this idea of feeling like we have a colleague, and not an adversary anymore. The Department of State has indicated that they will prioritize student visas as soon as public health conditions allow. And so, if the optimist in me is looking and hoping that will mean more resources, more appointments will be available, things will be coming up and we will be able to have some students who get more visas and get more appointments quickly. Obviously, that's not a given. But it is the situation as it is right now. Your point about enrolling online is a really interesting one. And so at least from my perspective, here at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a lot of our students—we did offer our students the option throughout the last year to enroll entirely online, if they chose, from outside of the U.S. But because of—back to these limited work authorizations, there's a program known as Curricular Practical Training, which is essentially a work authorization, off campus work or internship or authorization for a student to gain practical experience in his or her field. And for the most part, by and large, you must be physically present in the United States for a year, before you can be eligible for CPT. And so we found I think, in the past year that a lot of our students just simply didn't want to, particularly our masters students, or applied masters students for whom that CPT is such an important piece of what they're coming for, just simply didn't want to enroll online, simply wanted to wait so that they could start that eligibility for CPT, which can only begin when they're in the United States. And so that's a critical piece. And then I also think—back to the online piece—one of the things that I know a lot of colleagues around the country are grappling with is as we open up, and as we go back to more in person learning on our campuses, perhaps those available online options may go away, perhaps there are fewer options. And so, what we're trying to do is to find a happy medium where we can still have, still be able to offer a student a full array of online or hybrid courses that they can enroll in from abroad, if that situation comes to that, but also not do so in a limiting fashion. And I think time will tell, I think the next month, six weeks will be really, really critical for what fall enrollment is going to look like from an international perspective. And I'm hoping for the best, I think like everyone else. FASKIANOS: Yeah, thank you very much. I'm going to go next to Jennifer Tishler, who is associate director at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Our center has several international PhD students on hold but also several international nonstudent postdoctoral scholars. The postdocs would have employment status at our university, not student status. They would be entering as F-1 students and/or J-1 scholars. As things start to open up this summer, do you know if one visa classification will get priority over another? JULIAN: Short answer is I don’t. I know so much of the conversation when we facilitated our conference session with Consular Affairs and NAFSA was around F-1 students, but I do know that they are also prioritizing—and as we've seen through the past in these national interest exemptions for “academics,” and so I think there's been a lot of manipulation is not the word, a lot of negotiation, rather, around what academic means. Does that mean anyone with a J-1 visa, does that mean an H1B who is coming to teach and that sort of thing. So, I don't know the answer to that, but I think what I would say is just in general, I know Consular Affairs is understanding to higher education’s need in this regard. And I think there's an understanding that it encompasses not just the F-1 category students. So yeah, not really a great answer, but it is what it is, as the saying goes. FASKIANOS: Right. I mean, there is so much still to sort out as states are now reopening and just so much navigate through this summer as we see how things unfold in this country. So, the next question comes from Devi Potluri, who is dean of the graduate school at Chicago State University. If you could unmute yourself, that would be terrific. Q: Thank you. Good afternoon, Adam. You did mention the difficulties those of us in the smaller state universities have in our student visas. Before COVID, we used to hear the news that because we don't require GRE, consular officers would look at as a negative thing rather than a positive thing. Do you think that COVID has changed that because most universities now waive the GRE requirement? We had some students telling us, they used to ask a question does your university have a GRE, what kind of university doesn’t, even though we are a state university, fully accurate and everything else. I don't know if you heard anything like that, or any other ideas. JULIAN: In general, that idea is something that anecdotally I've heard people, colleagues like you from around the country, and colleagues I've worked with in my capacity at NAFSA, say for years things from “Oh, you don't require the GRE” to “Oh, your [inaudible] requirements are very low. These are the types of questions that we've asked consular officers in the past, and certainly, I would admit that these practices have happened. I would suggest that they are a little more isolated than I think the belief is, I think we, human nature just sort of grasp on to these ideas that when there's a perceived sort of injustice or unfairness, I think there's human nature to really think of it as a trend rather than a few isolated incidents. But that's not to say that it absolutely does not occur, I certainly think it does occur. And, in my experience working in the past at a public state university without much international name recognition, I've encountered some of those things myself. I think there are some things that you can do to ameliorate that situation. I think, one of the things that we really focus on at UMBC, and in other places, throughout my career, where I’ve worked, is really on, I don't want to say coaching, it's not coaching students on the visa application process, but helping them understand what they have to articulate. And part of that process is explaining to a consular officer, why Chicago State? Where is Chicago State? What you're studying, what your future goals are, why you chose that specific university? I think you raise a really interesting point with the—particularly as a lot of us are going test optional, even not only with GRE and for undergraduate admissions, SAT and ACT and those sorts of things, but in the English language testing area. Duolingo, I think is making a lot of significant headway in English language. And so, consular officers provide—they have bias for TOEFL or Duolingo, or the type of testing that it is, is it a public university, is it a community college, those sorts of things. I haven't heard any anything specific, but what I guess my strategy would be or what sort of what my team tries to do is to really educate our students and our applicants on really how that burden of proof is on them. And not necessarily just burden of proof that they're not going to immigrate, but burden of helping to articulate what their future plan is and why your specific university or school or institution fits into those plans and what it is. And I think that will go a long way. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We have another question from Martin Edwards, “Many universities have decreased their staff and resources to international students on campuses over the past year in order to offset difficulties of the pandemic and lower enrollment of international students. Could you offer any data resources that we could point to, to make a case for an increase of staff and resources to support an expected increase of international students?” JULIAN: So trying to wrack my brain here for any sort of specific data, I'm aware of some benchmarking surveys that some of my colleagues, particularly people in my role as a director of international student scholar services have done with NAFSA to talk really about what ideal staffing looks like, based on enrollment. Outside of that, if you could send me a message, I could follow up with you on that. I could share that information; I'd have to locate it. I don't know where it is, and how easily or readily available it is. I'd say, one point that we might bring into this conversation is how do you go about creating additional staffing and supporting increases in students? I know there are many, many different models that people employ, whether that's an international student fee charged per semester, or whether the fee for services you charge for OPT applications that you process or H-1B applications that you process. Obviously, we all have our own political and cultural context to work within what's possible at our campuses and institutions. But I would say one place where I would want to kind of put some focus would be on how could we creatively increase those resources. But I'd be happy to share that benchmarking survey if we can connect offline somehow. FASKIANOS: Sure, we can make sure that happens. Next question from Danielle McMartin, who is director of global education at California State University, San Marcos. “We do anticipate a change in F-1 regulations regarding allowance to online classes, as many institutions and faculty have become more online friendly within their curriculum planning. You might have touched upon this, but I want to just break surface it again.” JULIAN: That's a great question. And for those of you who work closely with F-1 student regulations, you will remember that much of the language that revolves around hybrid or distance or virtual education is antiquated at best, I think there's a reference to closed circuit television in the regulations that we have to use to sort of navigate this. So, I would hope that there are some changes, I think there are a lot of things that have occurred this last year that are not going away. I think one of the things that I think about when I hear that question is what exactly does hybrid mean? How do you define hybrid? Right? That was the guidance we had to work with throughout most of the pandemic with our F-1 student populations, how do you define hybrid? Is it one minute of in-person instruction? Is it one activity? Is it a majority? There's no, like so much of our work, there's no black and white, this is what it is. And so I think that piece of sort of virtual learning, hybrid versus online versus in person, is one of the single greatest areas of need, I think, for clarity in the F-1 student regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. So hopefully something will come with this. I hope we learn our lesson from this and prioritize it moving forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Katy Crossley-Frolick, who is an assistant professor at Denison University, “You discussed the need for longer term strategic thinking regarding international enrollment and mobility. Are you sensing a shift in the Biden administration in terms of pivoting in that direction? And what should be tackled first?” If you were going to give them, 1, 2, 3, what would you advise, Adam? JULIAN: Oh, yeah, I love that, I've suddenly been given some power. This is a great. Am I sensing his shift? Yeah, I think in general, I think it's just a more friendly administration, you see it in not just international education, but more friendly to higher education. You've seen it in some recent Title Nine actions, you've seen it in some other things. I know this idea of a national policy is something that other associations and other groups have brought up and advocated for. For me, the number one—I don't know if I can come up with three—but the number one thing I would fix or would address as part of this policy is to increase opportunities for work for international students and increase the ease by which an international student has a path to permanent residency or citizenship. I know I'm preaching to the choir or so to speak here. But the value of international students to this country and to the world is really immeasurable. Right, how many of our Nobel laureates and others and Fortune 500 company founders and CEOs are former international students, right. Making the U.S. more attractive destination for the world's best and brightest minds to come, making it easier for them to work, to gain practical experience, to invest in this country in this economy, and if they so ultimately choose to have a path to permanent residency, should be the number one piece of any strategy, in my opinion. International students create jobs, international students innovate, international students who are responsible for some of the greatest accomplishments of this country, in my opinion. I’d also focus on opportunities for study abroad or study away. I think the value of mutual understanding, particularly thinking of my experience coming from smaller state schools or growing up in rural Southwestern Indiana like I did, the value of interacting with people with differing perspectives and experiences is immeasurable, so I would try to find some way to create support for international study or travel for U.S.-based students. I think that's only two, but those are the first two that come to mind. FASKIANOS: Great, and Adam, speaking from your position at UMBC, what have you done over the course of the pandemic to foster a sense of community for your international student population? And what are the strategies that you're putting into place for returning this fall, especially if some of them aren't going to make it onto campus if they are trying to get those interviews, and they're not going to be there in the fall, or make it to the fall, are you offering the online option? How are you thinking about all that? JULIAN: Well, that is, I think, the number one question that we think about every day. So, the first part: what did we do over the fall, we actually established a new program—I'm sure most the people on the call with universities have similar programs—our Global Ambassadors Program. And it really is designed to do two things simultaneously: provide funding and support for international students who already have limited opportunities for employment in the U.S. who may have lost their job because that on campus employment isn't available due to COVID. And so, we employ them to really serve as ambassadors for new students and admitted students to help them connect, build a sense of community online, virtual, different types of platforms, different types of activities that they participate in together. And really, that was sort of as a substitute to try to, during the COVID times, build a sense of community and try to replicate those bonds and the importance of mutual understanding and trust that comes with the campus experience. But the campus experience, the experience of studying in a U.S. university of vibrant campus life is really in some ways what differentiates the U.S. system of higher education from other systems of higher education in the world. And I think we would all be naive to say that's not extremely valuable. And so, we're looking at ways that we can do that safely, just like I'm sure everyone else are, that is something that we think should be critical, it's a priority. And to add to that, we've got a whole group of students, they're not many, but who came in the fall or spring during COVID, who have never visited campus. So, there's this real kind of pent up need for that. And so, we are planning things for the fall semester, we're doing some sort of hybrid orientations and meet and greets and a sort of welcome reception with our senior administration for international students to recognize the significant obstacles they've overcome to join us. And we really want to celebrate that and recognize that at the most senior levels, and so we're planning some things like that for the fall. FASKIANOS: Thank you, and then putting on your NAFSA, or your role at NAFSA. What are you doing—obviously, so much of this is dependent on our U.S. immigration policy and reforming that—what are you doing to talk to Congress to advocate for some of these changes that you've mentioned here, and that need to be put in place in order to decrease the barriers to come to this country to study? JULIAN: Yeah, NAFSA has a great advocacy wing, a group of professional staff members who are really dedicated to advocating on behalf of the Association and its members. They do several things that you can imagine, from an advocacy day to specific calls to action. One of the things, in particular, that the regulatory practice group that I've been involved with has done over the past is when there were these proposed changes to immigration regulations, the way the process works, typically, there's a public comment period where anyone can comment on how this rule will impact them, or impact their state, their university, their institution, their family. And so we've really worked with NAFSA to sort of muster the energy amongst people to write these comment letters and to have our voice be heard. There have certainly been successes, I think, through this. I think back to [inaudible]. I know at some point the duration of status was on the chopping block, so to say, so to speak, there were, it was up for public comment, and received thousands and thousands of comments. And ultimately, that was dropped by the next administration, that's no longer in danger. So, I would say, really kind of summary, two things. NAFSA’s advocacy arm works really closely with other associations and really sort of daily on the Hill for our means. And then also, we as association members, I think, really need to be actively engaged in public comment periods and things like that. FASKIANOS: Fantastic, I'm just looking to see—we're almost at the end of our time. So, I'm just wanting to see if there's anything—we covered a lot of ground. So, I think I can just turn to you for any closing remarks that you want to make before we finish up our session. JULIAN: Thanks. Well, I just want to say, I really appreciate everybody attending, and I appreciate a lot of the great questions and comments that I know were—for those of us who are in the weeds, so to speak, in this room right now, it's a very stressful time. But I think back to last summer, and then I'm reminded that it's not nearly as stressful as it was, then. So, have hope, keep the faith, we'll see, I think as things improve, appointments will open up and we'll get back to sort of establishing whatever our new sense of normal is, and we'll do it like we do all things, that's together. And I look forward to that, if I can ever help in any way and to anyone on the call, please don't ever hesitate to reach out. I'm always happy to share ways that you can get involved with NAFSA, with international students, calling regulatory practice committee, or just trying to share resources that I may have come across in my work with that group that would be helpful. And I guess that's all I have to say. FASKIANOS: Adam, I do have one final question, just as your people are navigating over the course of the summer, is there one source or a couple, a handful, that you would say should be the touch point go to reading or go to check, like every other day or daily or once a week, just sort of see where things are? JULIAN: Yeah, I would say so if you're looking at that from a sense of what's changing on a regulatory perspective, I think NAFSA, at least for student and scholar pieces, is the definitive source. And so, I would put in a plug for NAFSA.org/reginfo, that's the landing page where any recent changes and updates occur. On the consular front, it is really post specific. And so, if you're working with a student, or you have a population, have a heavy population of students from one country or another, I would really refer you to that particular embassy or consulate itself and their social media feeds. They do a great job with their public outreach. And they're a great source of information. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. And we will circulate the link to this webinar, some of the resources that were mentioned, as well as the benchmark study that Adam is going to dig out for us. So, appreciate that. So, Adam Julian, thank you very much for being with us and to all of you. I hope that people can take a little bit of a break. It has been a grueling year for educators. The summer probably won't give you much respite. But hopefully, you'll be able to take a few days off to try to reenergize and do some self-care, which is so important. So, we really appreciate it. So, thank you. You can follow Adam on Twitter @Adam_l_Julian. So I hope you will follow him there. We appreciate your expertise. And again, follow us on @CFR_Academic, and you can visit CFR.org and ForeignAffairs.com for more resources. We look forward to seeing you all again for our next webinars, so stay well and stay safe and take care. (END)
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