Category Archives: U.S. Foreign Policy
“Iowa’s Role in Agriculture and International trade: Why Tariffs and Trade Agreements Matter”
Chad Hart is an extension economist and associate professor of economics at Iowa State University. Chad is a native of southwest Missouri, growing up on a rural homestead near Stark City, Missouri. He received his Ph.D. in economics and statistics in 1999 from Iowa State University. His work has concentrated on crop marketing, crop insurance, international trade agreements, and bioenergy policy. Chad is also a partner in FarmRisk, an Iowa firm that develops revenue insurance products for agriculture.
Over the course of the past couple of years, there has been a lot of conversation about international trade and the benefits/costs from it. From the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the volley of tariff announcements between the U.S. and China, international trade policy is in a state of flux. That uncertainty has direct and indirect impacts for the Iowa economy, as Iowa’s (and the U.S.) agriculture sector has developed to meet international needs. In this discussion, we will explore the current set of trade agreements, disputes, and organizations; examine how Iowa agriculture fits in the global economic system; and outline the benefits and costs from international trade.
“Immigration Hits Home: How New Immigration Policies Affect Iowa City and How Iowa City is Responding”
Professor Bram Elias is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Law and directs the Clinic’s immigration practice. Bram received his BA from the University of Michigan, an MA from The Queen’s University in Belfast, an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a JD from the Yale University Law School. He also clerked for Senior Judge Dorothy Nelson of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Denise Casper of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Prior to joining the University of Iowa College of Law, Bram worked as an immigration attorney in private practice in Iowa City, where his work focused on federal immigration law, removal defense, immigration-related family law issues in state court, and immigration-related post-conviction review and habeas corpus litigation in state and federal courts. Professor Elias’ students practice before federal immigration courts and administrative bodies, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, and state and federal courts and both the trial and appellate levels.
Bram will be speaking about the most common problems and changes that are seen locally as a result of the new tenor of immigration politics and policies being spread by the Trump Administration. He will give specific examples in his discussion, such as cases where members of immigrant communities are too afraid to talk to local law enforcement or go to court, children of mixed-status families refusing free and reduced lunch at school, and members of immigrant communities being too afraid to go to the emergency room. He will also speak about his students’ work within the area, such as working with the Johnson County Community ID program, helping set up new organizations like the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Fund, designing bespoke “power of attorney”/ “in case of emergency” legal packets for individual families, and more.
“The UN is Our Greatest Hope for the Future”
Andrea Cohen is a passionate human rights defender and supporter of the UN. She is Executive Director of the Iowa United Nations Association whose mission is to promote, educate about, and advocate for the entire United Nations system. Ms. Cohen attended the United Nations International School in New York, giving her a special connection with the organization. Ms. Cohen has a Bachelors in Anthropology from Barnard College and a Masters in Anthropology and Education, from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She also has a Master of Science in Teaching (Social Studies and Civics) from the Free University in Amsterdam. Originally Dutch, Ms. Cohen moved to New York City in the early 1960s, living there for 28 years before moving back to The Netherlands. She came back to Iowa City with her family in 2012. She is an Iowa City Human Rights Commissioner and a member of the Board of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.
The fundamental principles of the United Nations are as vital today as they were in 1945; perhaps even more so. Focusing inwards is not a solution when the world is so interconnected. The 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development provide a framework for tackling sticky problems together: for Iowa, the US, and the world. Her remarks will explore why and how the Global Goals urge cooperation and collaboration on a global scale. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“The New Arabs: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East”
Juan R. I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He received his B.A. in History and Literature of Religions from Northwestern University, his M.A. in Arabic Studies / History from American University in Cairo, and his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from UCLA. Juan speaks Arabic and possesses skill in Persian, Urdu, and reads Turkish. He is the author of Engaging the Muslim World and Napoleon’s Egypt. He has been a regular guest on PBS NewsHour and has also appeared on ABC World News, Nightline, the Today show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Colbert Report, Democracy!, Al Jazeera America, and many other programs. He has commented extensively on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Iraq, Egypt, the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Syria, and Iranian domestic struggles and foreign affairs.
For thirty-five years, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His deep knowledge of language, Middle Eastern Culture, and the differing theological traditions of Islam, have made him an authority on the region. Professor Cole will be discussing his most recent book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East will be the focus of his presentation.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“Why the Japanese School Year Begins in Cherry Blossom Time”
Karen Wachsmuth will share her recent experiences as a Fulbright International Education Administrator awardee to Japan. While in the country, she met with Ministry of Education officials, top-level university administrators, professors, high school teachers, guidance counselors, students, and job placement agencies. She will share with us how their differing viewpoints reflected unique and sometimes contradictory aspects of Japanese culture and history. She will also discuss the context of her travels to Hiroshima, Tokyo, and Kyoto, which took place during a year in which U.S.-Japan relations were undergoing epic, positive change.
Wachsmuth is a Juilliard-trained conductor, musician, and scholar. Under her dynamic and innovative leadership as the UI Fulbright Program Advisor, the University of Iowa was named a top producer of Fulbright students for 2016-17, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. This is the second year in a row that UI has achieved this elite ranking.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“Travel Bans: Uncertainties and Real World Consequences”
Steve Schulz is the Senior Director for the Global Talent Acquisition and Mobility organization at Rockwell-Collins. His responsibilities include all recruiting efforts across the globe, foreign national employee strategy, contract labor, relocation, mobility, short and long-term assignments, K-12 STEM efforts, and external diversity partnerships. Steve has been a leader in the talent acquisition efforts for more than two decades spending half his time in the external agency industry and the other half leading talent acquisition functions.
Rockwell-Collins employs 30,000 people worldwide and is one of Iowa’s largest employers with 8,700 employees in Cedar Rapids plus another 1,200 employees in other Eastern Iowa locations including Iowa City. Founded in 1933, Rockwell-Collins is the industry leader in advanced avionics for commercial and military aircraft.
This presentation will focus on Rockwell-Collins foreign national employment strategy and why it is a critical element for our company’s people strategy. Changes to the program including current global and political challenges confronting our organization will be discussed.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please renew your ICFRC membership.
“Immigration and the Trump Administration’s First 100 Days”
During the 2016 presidential elections, candidate Trump made immigration law and policy a cornerstone of his campaign. Since assuming office on January 10, 2017, the Trump Administration has begun a far-reaching program of immigration reforms. The immigration policy choices that the new administration has made including those affecting refugees, asylum seekers, international students and scholars, and undocumented immigrants will have far-reaching impact in the years ahead. There will also be major implications for U.S. foreign policy, and our relationships with other countries because the administration’s actions call into question international legal commitments that have been binding on the U.S. for many years. This program will explore these recent developments in immigration law-making with an emphasis on how they are likely to affect our community here in Iowa City and communities like ours throughout the United States.
Stella Burch Elias joined the Iowa Law faculty in 2012, after a two-year appointment as Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard University Law School. Stella teaches civil procedure, foundations of international law, and immigration law.
In 2013, Professor Elias founded the College of Law’s Advanced Immigration Law and Policy Project, which enables law students to work on innovative legal policy projects for organizational clients in Iowa. In 2015 she was awarded the James N. Murray Faculty Award, a University-wide award given each year to a tenure-track faculty member in recognition for outstanding teaching, assistance to students, exceptional research and writing and dedication to the University and surrounding community. Prior to Law School, Professor Elias served as a diplomat in the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She Clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“The International Order Under Fire: Old Problems and New Threats”
Jennifer Smyser is Vice President and Director of Policy Programming for the Stanley Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s team of policy professionals in advancing multilateral action to create fair, just, and lasting solutions to critical issues of peace and security. Foundation programming is currently focused on nuclear security, genocide prevention, and climate
change. Smyser oversees implementation of the foundation’s programming efforts, which include identifying policy gaps and commissioning relevant analysis, developing and participating in coalitions and working groups, organizing roundtable and other policy dialogues, engaging the media and broader public, and establishing networks.
Before assuming her current position becoming Jen was Director of Policy Programming for more than six years, overseeing the Foundation’s nuclear security policy programming as well as citizen leader outreach. She played a key role in the
creation of the Fissile Materials Working Group and the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group, and fostered the foundation’s involvement in the Nuclear Security Summit process. Smyser also led an effort to improve and refine the
Foundation’s engagement with citizen organizations focused on international affairs and US foreign policy. Smyser spent a decade working in US-based nongovernmental organizations focused on US global engagement and citizen diplomacy. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University.
Keith Porter is President and CEO of the Stanley Foundation. Previously, he was the Director of Policy and Outreach for the Foundation. In that post, he played a leadership role in the Foundation’s transition toward a dynamic advocacy organization focused on specific multilateral policy-change goals. This included developing and implementing a new strategic plan, creating work plans , evaluating progress, and maximizing the foundation’s impact through increased networking and collaboration with a wide range of institutions and individuals.
Porter was Co-Producer and Co-Host of the Foundation’s nationally syndicated public radio program on world affairs, Common Ground, from 1988 to 2004. He also served as Co-Producer and reporter for a number of radio documentaries on international issues. Keith has been recognized him for excellence in broadcast journalism, including the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Headliner Awards, the New York Festivals, and the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Porter holds a graduate degree from Illinois State University.
The post– World War II international order has fostered ongoing cooperation and progress toward shared peace, prosperity and dignity for more than 70 years. Fault lines and fractures in the order are not new– for years rising powers have been
looking for an equitable piece of the decision-making process,
non-state actors have been challenging the systems in unique ways, and many states have been assaulting the system’s founding pillars of international law. However, new threats to the system’s stability have cropped up in recent years. Keith Porter and Jen Smyser will share how the international system can be preserved and improved.
“Vietnam: 1968-1969, New Leadership, Same Stalemate”
In mid-1968, President Nixon appointed Rear Admiral Elmo Zumwalt as the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam, with a promotion to Vice Admiral. The Navy had been in Vietnam since 1954 and this was the first Commander with a three-star rank. Howard Kerr accompanied the Admiral to Vietnam and served as his personal aide. General Creighton Abrams was the Senior Military Commander and Ellsworth Bunker was the U.S. Ambassador. The United States had over 500,000 uniformed military in Vietnam and had been fighting there with significant forces since 1965. Despite the escalation, the Vietnam war was already being lost in the minds of Americans.
After earning his UI degree, Iowa native Howard Kerr served as a U.S. Naval Officer from 1960-1981. During his time as a naval officer, he earned his MA and MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. From 1973-1975, Kerr served as a Military Aide to Vice Presidents Agnew and Ford, and as a Naval Aide and Deputy Presidential Counselor to President Ford. From there he went on to serve as a Military Fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations in 1978-1979. Upon leaving the military, he developed a successful private-sector career, becoming President and CEO of Custom Technologies Corporation, Grabill Aerospace Industries, Ltd., and Pocklington Financial Corporation. In his former hometown of Lake Forest, Illinois, Kerr served on the City Council and as Mayor. Through Rotary International, he is instrumental in providing scholarships to local high school students, and he has returned to the UI campus regularly to speak with students in the Department of Political Science and is a member of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board.
“Jordan: People, Culture, Challenges”
As a native from Jordan, Karim will share his experience growing up in the capital city of Amman. Jordan has historically been a strong ally of the US. Situated in the center of the Middle East’s many conflicts, bordering countries with significant turmoil, Jordan has accepted over one million refugees. Jordan’s economy and political topography has significantly changed. The presenter will first share the beauty of Jordan, its people and provide insights into how Jordan has survived in peace for so many years. He will provide his own personal view of the country’s significant challenges. Because of its strategic location, Jordan’s significance in today’s political scene is paramount to the future of the region.
Dr. Abdel-Malek is internationally recognized in the areas of robotics and human simulation. He is the Director of the Center for Computer Aided Design, a world renowned research center with 7 units and 150 researchers. Dr. Abdel-Malek has led projects with all services of the US Military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines), and industry partners including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, Caterpillar and others. He received his Ms and PhD in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Jordan. He has published over 220 technical articles, a book and serves on the board of three companies. Dr. Abdel-Malek is the Senior Associate to the Provost.
“The Election 2016: Was It Hacked?”
“The Global Impact of Drugs”
From small communities to corporate enterprises, drugs and their impact are reshaping the healthcare and economic landscape, making the educational journey of today’s pharmacists highly demanding and competitive. Peoples’ perceptions about drugs and their impact on society are limited to what they see and read. During this lecture Dr. Letendre will shed light on some of the new and fascinating ways in which drugs are impacting society, positively and negatively, including astonishing new medications that are helping to treat and cure maladies that were once thought untreatable and incurable.
Donald E. Letendre is Dean and Professor, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Following completion of his Doctorate in Pharmacy and clinical residency at the University of Kentucky, he served as Assistant Director and Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center; spent nearly two decades on the staff of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) serving, for much of that time, as Director of Accreditation Services; and, was Dean and Professor at the University of Rhode Island and Executive Secretary of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory Commission immediately prior to his responsibilities at Iowa. As a clinical practitioner, educator, association staff member, and now academic administrator, Dean Letendre has been privileged to serve countless students and postgraduate residents throughout his career, and has actively participated in the development and implementation of standards that have helped shape pharmacy practice and residency and technician training programs worldwide.
“Post-Election Perspectives for International Relations”
James A. Leach joined the Iowa College of Law after serving most recently as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach is best known for his 30 years of service as a representative in Congress where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Following his time in Congress, he was a Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and Interim Director of the Institute of Politics and Lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Under his leadership at the NEH, they created a Bridging Cultures program designed to promote understanding and mutual respect for diverse groups within the United States and abroad. As part of this effort, NEH-supported programs designed to expand citizen understanding of American history and values, the civil rights movement, and foreign cultures. In addition, the agency helped launch a National Digital Public Library to establish a unified gateway to digital collections of books, artworks, and artifacts from libraries, museums, and other cultural sites across the country. Leach presided over the culmination of decades-long projects such as the publication of the Autobiography of Mark Twain and the Dictionary of American Regional English.
He holds thirteen honorary degrees, has received decorations from two foreign governments, and is the recipient of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Adlai Stevenson Award from the United Nations Association, the Edgar Wayburn Award from the Sierra Club, the Norman Borlaug Public Service Award, and the Woodrow Wilson Medal from Princeton. He has served on the board of several public companies and a series of non-profit organizations, including the Century Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Kettering Foundation, Pro Publica and Common Cause, which he chaired.
“Seven Myths About Immigration”
Immigration flows and their regional impacts are increasingly taking center stage in global politics. With mainstream journalism focusing more on the reaction to immigration than on its causes, the result is that immigrants are widely vilified as (potential) criminals or even ‘rapists’, or more specifically as people who want to take your jobs. This talk will challenge seven myths fueling the rising tide of hysteria by exploring often-ignored truths about immigration, starting with the re-structuring of the global labor market during the past several decades of neoliberal globalization. Mass movement of peoples across borders, we will argue, is here to stay, and the numbers are only bound to increase even more dramatically. Also, given the built-in contradictions of neoliberal economic policies in relation to immigration, the pursuit of policies aimed at achieving ‘stabilization’ are also unlikely to succeed in the short term.
Michael Žmolek teaches World History, International Studies and Development Studies at the University of Iowa. He received a BA in Linguistics and a Certificate of African studies at Iowa before going on to complete his Ph.D in Political Science at York University in Toronto, where he served as an executive of the Graduate Students’ Association for four years. As a legislative assistant in Congress, his work focused on addressing the plight of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina and on drafting articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for representatives Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH). As an activist he has worked on the campaign to abolish apartheid in South Africa; opposing tuition hikes for students in Canada; and opposing the bombing, sanctions and military occupation of Iraq.
“Global Health and Sustainable Development”
From 1991 to 1995 at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva, Lange managed humanitarian and refugee assistance channeled through international organizations. He also had tours of duty in the State Department Bureaus of African Affairs, Western Hemisphere Affairs and Management in Washington and at U.S. Embassies in Togo, France and Mexico. The United Nations Foundation was launched in 1998 with a $1 billion gift from Ted Turner to support the United Nations causes. The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations. Ambassador Lange’s visit to Iowa is sponsored by the Iowa United Nations Association, the state affiliate of the United Nations Association of the USA, a program of the United Nations Foundation.
Ambassador John E. Lange (Ret.) serves as the primary focal point for the UN Foundation’s global health diplomacy activities. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2013, Lange spent four years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working with African governments to improve public health. He has served as co-chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Polio Partners Group since its launch in April 2012. Ambassador Lange had a 28-year career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State, including service as Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza; Deputy Inspector General; Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the inception of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and Associate Dean at the Foreign Service Institute. He was Ambassador to Botswana from 1999 to 2002 and simultaneously served as Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community.
Valon Murtezaj was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo in March 2016. Dr. Murtezaj was appointed to this position after a long and successful, professional and academic, experience. Before being appointed to this position, Murtezaj was Principal Advisor for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Isa Mustafa Professor Murtezaj, among others, is a permanent professor in the prestigious IESEG School of Management in Paris, France, being the first Kosovo Albanian lecturing on diplomacy and international negotiation in a world diplomacy centre such as Paris. His education and work and life experience is inter-disciplinary, multicultural and global.
The United States has been joined by over 100 countries in its recognition of Kosovo as an independent, sovereign state. The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Kosovo and international partners to strengthen Kosovo’s institutions, rule of law, and economy and build a democratic, law-abiding, multi-ethnic, tolerant, and prosperous country. U.S. policy priorities are: ensuring improved rule of law and governance that meets citizens’ needs; ensuring Kosovo has sustainable, inclusive economic growth that supports its stability and integration with Europe; ensuring Kosovo contributes positively to regional stability, including by legally transforming its security sector, countering violent extremism, promoting minority rights, and integrating into Euro-Atlantic structure.
“German Iowa & the Global Midwest: How to Do Global History Locally”
German immigrants consistently accounted for the largest number of foreign-born people in Iowa from the 1850s through the 1970s. While today we focus on recent immigrants from Latin America and Southeast Asia, our state remains deeply impacted by an earlier group of newcomers. This lecture presents the efforts of H. Glenn Penny in teaching his students about Germany, and in turn the Professor learned about Iowa and it’s history. Through the Iowa/Germany case study we can see that it is not only possible to do globally history locally, it is also imperative if we want to better understand the place in which we live.
H. Glenn Penny is a Professor of Modern European History at the University of Iowa. Much of his work is focused on relations between Germans and non-Europeans over the last two centuries. He has written many books on the topic. Currently, he is engaged in an in-depth study of German interactions with Guatemala and completing a book manuscript titled: Networked Spaces: German Schools in Latin America since the 1880’s.
“U.S.—China Cyber Agreement: Is It Enough of a Good Thing?”
Cybertheft is a popular issue. I will offer my reflections on the continued need for concrete action to match the rhetoric of the norm against cybertheft. Informed observers have not yet detected a decline in the intrusions from China focused on U.S. business. Now is the time for the Administration to return to the sanctions process that was reported to be close to completion before the Xi visit several months ago.
Adam Bobrow is the President, CEO and Founder of Resilience Strategies, a strategic consultancy based in Maryland. Foresight provides advice to clients on the impact of government policy decisions and strategic decisions, particularly cyber-enabled enhancements to their products and services. Adam was recognized for his cybersecurity expertise as a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Adam served the Obama Administration in a variety of positions over five years. Most recently, he was the international lead for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Adam is an attorney, having received his JD from Washington University in St. Louis and is a member of the DC Bar. Adam’s undergraduate degree is in Chinese language from Georgetown University.
“Iowa, Heroin, and Afghanistan”
This presentation will focus on the connection between U.S counter-narcotics policy, the deteriorating rule of law situation in Afghanistan, and Iowa’s surge in opioid and heroin abuse.
Ron McMullen, currently the University of Iowa’s Ambassador in Residence, served as U.S. Ambassador to the State of Eritrea. Ron has over 30 years of diplomatic experience and has lived, worked, or traveled in 98 countries. In Burma he worked closely with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy groups. While posted in Fiji he helped prevent civil conflict after an armed takeover of parliament. He was shot at during a riot in Sri Lanka and helped train mongooses to detect heroin. He survived a voodoo curse in the Dominican Republic and took Hillary Clinton on a tour of South Africa’s Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.
Between foreign assignments, Ron served three years as Visiting Professor at the Military Academy at West Point, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Politics. He was Diplomat-In-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin 2010-2012. He has authored a number of scholarly works and is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award. In 2015 he received the University of Iowa’s Honors Program Teaching Award. A native of Northwood, Iowa and a graduate of Drake University, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Iowa.