Making the Hard Case for Soft Power: Advocacy, Citizen Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad

 March 5, 2018

Sherry Mueller

Former Secretary of State Elihu Root called for citizens to take a concerted interest in international relations in his article entitled,” A Requisite for the Success of Popular Diplomacy,” published in the first issue of Foreign Affairs (September 1922). This article prompts reflection on essential questions affecting the U.S. image abroad.

  • Why do we as a society undersell soft power and magnify the benefits of hard power?
  • How do we more effectively advocate for Fulbright, the International Visitor Leadership Program, Peace Corps, and other programs that give individual citizens a chance to make a difference in our turbulent world?
  • How do we encourage Millennials to be more actively involved in citizen diplomacy and international exchange?

Sherry Lee Mueller, Ph.D., Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington, D.C., teaches courses on cultural diplomacy. In 2017 she received an Excellence in Teaching Award as an adjunct professor from the School of International Service. Ms Mueller served as President of Global Ties U.S. (formerly NCIV) from 1996 to 2011. Prior to that she also held various leadership positions at the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Ms. Mueller has served as a speaker for the U.S. Department of State in Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Washington, D.C., giving lectures and conducting workshops on leadership development for nonprofit organizations. In 2014, Georgetown University Press published the second edition of her book Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development. Ms. Mueller earned her M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).


Update on the Politics & Economics of Brexit

 February 6, 2018

Christine Sauer and Kendra Koivu

The Brexit negotiations continue against the backdrop of changing political and economic landscapes in the UK and on the European continent. In their joint talk, UNM Professors Kendra Koivu (Political Science) and Christine Sauer (Economics) will provide an update on the status of the negotiations and discuss the possible implications of Brexit under different scenarios.

Christine Sauer is Professor of Economics and Associate Director of the International Studies Institute at the University of New Mexico. A native of Germany, she earned her Ph.D. in Economics from Brown University specializing in international macro and monetary economics. Scholarly work consists of a book, “Alternative Theories of Output, Unemployment, and Inflation in Germany” (1989) as well as refereed articles and conference presentations. Dr. Sauer is an award-winning teacher (2008-2009 Outstanding Teacher Award, 2011-2013 UNM Presidential Teaching Fellow) who has lectured and taught courses on the European Union to diverse audiences at UNM and elsewhere. She has also previously addressed the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum on the European Union and the EURO.

Kendra Koivu is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. She received her doctorate from Northwestern University, where she studied comparative politics, qualitative methods, and international relations. Her substantive research interests include organized crime, narcotics trafficking, early twentieth century Eurasian politics, statebuilding, and political economy. Her work has been published in outlets such as Comparative Political Studies, Studies in Comparative International Development, and PS: Political Science and Politics. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Consorting with Criminals: Smuggling and Statebuilding in the Interwar Period.

This spring/early summer, Professors Koivu and Sauer will co-lead an interdisciplinary study-abroad program for UNM undergraduates that focuses on the politics and economics of the European Union, “The EU at Sixty: What’s Nexit?”

This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).


The Nuclear Road Ahead: Challenges for President Donald J Trump

December 05, 2016 

James Doyle, Jesse Guillen, Cheryl Rofer and Arvid Lundy

We’ve heard more than usual about nuclear weapons, both in the campaign and from Russia. The UN has decided to consider a ban on nuclear weapons, like the bans on chemical and biological weapons. Who’s got nuclear weapons and where? We’ll look at the issues and where things may go. Our panelists welcome your questions.

Dr. James Doyle – Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialist:
From 1997 to July 2014 Dr. Doyle was a specialist in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His professional focus is on systems analysis, strategic planning and policy development. Dr. Doyle holds a PhD in International Security Studies from the University of Virginia. At Los Alamos he managed projects with Russia’s nuclear weapons institutes on the joint development of technologies and procedures for verifying the dismantlement and storage of nuclear warheads and fissile materials. In 2015 Dr. Doyle was awarded the first Paul Olum fellowship from the Ploughshares Fund and was a non-resident fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Security at Harvard. His recent works focus on nuclear forces modernization, innovation in the field of nuclear threats and strategic planning for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Cheryl Rofer – Former President of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security:
Cheryl Rofer retired more than a decade ago, after 35 years as a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her work included environmental projects in Estonia and Kazakhstan, managing cleanups at Los Alamos, and projects in fossil fuels, laser development, and the nuclear fuel cycle. She now blogs at Nuclear Diner and contributes posts and op-eds to other web newspapers and magazines, including the Globe and Mail, War On The Rocks, and Physics Today. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of Ripon College (Ripon, Wisconsin), past president of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security, and a founding member of SFWAF. She has published in scientific and political science journals and edited a book. She holds an A.B. from Ripon College and an M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley. She has been following the progress of the negotiations with Iran closely and has tweeted extensive commentary (@CherylRofer).

Jesse Guillen – Founder of Global Zero – Santa Fe Chapter:
As the Global Zero representative in northern New Mexico, Jesse has lobbied at the UN and on Capitol Hill in support of the Iran Deal and for reductions in nuclear weapons spending. He earned a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Kent – Brussels School of International Studies, and spent six months in Beijing, China at the China Foreign Affairs University. His Bachelors degree is in Political Science and he has worked for Senator Jeff Bingaman and Governor Bill Richardson. Jesse is currently the Legislative Liaison for the city of Santa Fe where he is responsible for drafting legislation for the Mayor and City Councillors.

Arvid Lundy – Moderator, Nuclear Export Controls Specialist, and SFWAF Vice President:
Arvid has extensive experience in nuclear export controls, nuclear proliferation intelligence, electronic instrumentation design, and clinical medical physics. Arvid spent thirty one years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as project engineer, group leader, and program manager. His career included over 100 foreign trips for the US government on nuclear issues, especially international nuclear export control.

This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).


History, Identity, Democracy: A Framework for Understanding Israeli Politics

October 30, 2015

 Eytan Gilboa, Chair and Academic Director, The Israel Public Diplomacy Forum

What are the key characteristics of Israeli society that have affected the formation of the Israeli political system and political culture?  Professor Gilboa will offer insights into the Israeli political arena exploring such elements as political parties, elections, coalition government and representation for religious and ethnic minorities.  He will also address relations between the Israeli government, society, the Supreme Court and the mass media and explore the difficult issues that come from the delicate balance of power between them. (more…)

Slovakia in the European Union 10 Years On: Promises Fulfilled?

August 12, 2014

Rick Zednik, EURActiv CEO

The spring of 2004 was momentous in the history of independent Slovakia. On May 1 of that year, the country joined the European Union. Coming as it did less than five weeks after Slovakia joined NATO, this marked the culmination of a long process that was highly uncertain in the 1990′s. A decade later, we can now reflect on what enabled Slovakia to join these European and trans-Atlantic structures, and how the subsequent integration has fared.


Hungary Today: Examining Solutions to Intractable Problems

December 8, 2011

Deborah Cornelius, historian of East Central Europe

Why has the popularly elected government of this small nation surrounded by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Croatia received so much criticism?  Why has Slovakia challenged a recently enacted law allowing ethnic Hungarians living in regions formerly part of Hungary to apply for Hungarian citizenship, despite the existence of similar laws in other countries?  Why is Hungary’s new Constitution, its first permanent written constitution since 1949, being questioned? And just how stable and prosperous is this fascinating country in the heart of Central Europe? (more…)

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