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).


Terrorism and the Middle East in 2016: Next Steps

September 12, 2016 

 Dr. Emile Nakhleh

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) continues to threaten the Middle East region, the United States and the world. What are the ideological and policy factors that drive it, and what lies behind its apparent resiliency? In contrast with its predecessor terror group, al-Qa’ida, the “jihadist” threat from ISIS is more lethal, battle-hardened, and well entrenched. Whereas al-Qa’ida Central moved from the global arena to regional and local areas, ISIS seems to be moving from the local theater(Syria and Iraq) to regional states and expanding globally. Using social media platforms, ISIS is bent on radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth in the West and elsewhere, including in the United States. ISIS is not larger than life and must and will be contained.  Dr. Nakhleh will address all, including the nature and source of radical Sunni ideology that feeds it, and will highlight US regional policy and the threats and challenges over the next five to ten years.

Dr. Nakhleh is a retired Senior Intelligence Service Officer, a Research Professor and Director of the newly launched Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. He is a National Intelligence Council/IC Associate and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since retiring from the US Government in 2006, he has consulted on national security issues, particularly Islamic radicalization, terrorism, and the Arab states of the Middle East. He has published frequently on the “Arab Spring” in the Financial Times and the LobeLog blog At the CIA, he was a senior analyst and director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program and a regional analyst in the Middle East. He holds a Ph.D. from the American University, Washington, D.C., in International Relations, an M.A. from Georgetown University in Political Science, and a B.A. from Saint John’s University, Minnesota, in Political Science. He is the author of numerous academic books and scholarly articles. He and his wife, Ilonka Lessnau Nakhleh, live in Albuquerque, NM.

Cost for this lunch session is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. 

This program with Dr. Emile Nakhleh is now SOLD OUT!

memorialWhat Have We Learned About Combating Terrorism After 9/11

Article by Emile Nakhleh

Date: September 13, 2016.

Africa’s Petroleum Boom: Blessing or Curse?

February 26, 2016 

Mark L. Asquino: US Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, 2012-15

Several Sub-Saharan African nations have been experiencing an unprecedented influx of riches as a result of the exportation abroad of their oil and gas.  Equatorial Guinea, where Mark Asquino was Ambassador until October, is the third largest petroleum Sub-Saharan producer today.  On the other side of the continent, the Sudan – where Ambassador Asquino previously served, is another.  The two top producers, however, are Nigeria and Angola which he will also discuss.  On the one hand, the riches accrued from petroleum exports have made these countries far wealthier than their wildest dreams.  On the other, money isn’t everything.  What are the pluses and minuses of Africa’s petroleum gold mine, who benefits, who loses and how best can these countries cope?


The Santa Rosa Model: A Colombia Success Story

January 26, 2015

John Heard, former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Peace Corps with tours in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador, Bosnia and the Philippines plus a number of years in Washington

Although Colombia has been pushed off the front pages by Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, Colombia remains one of the largest recipients of US foreign assistance. Colombia is also a US foreign policy priority in terms of the “wars” on drugs and terror as well as our commitment to strengthening democracies. Not only is Colombia America’s staunchest ally in the hemisphere, it offers an underappreciated model of successful cooperation with the U.S. Santa Rosa del Sur, a small town in Colombia’s Southern Bolivar Department, was once in the heart of northern Colombia drug production with a heavy involvement of leftist guerilla groups. The farmers had no choice but to grow coca for peanuts, so to speak. Ten years later they thrive by growing cocoa and other legally marketable crops. USAID helped to make that happen. Our speaker was part of this durable transformation, and this program will tell us how it came about.


Scientific and Technological Cooperation and the Trans-Atlantic Economy – the “Fifth Freedom”

November 25, 2014

James Gavigan, Minister Counselor, EU Mission to the United States

EU Commission logo

This program was held in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

Even though the pursuit of new knowledge has never been delimited to national borders, the fact that public funds for science are largely in the hands of national authorities acts as a constraint on its international character. Moreover, the private financing of science mostly puts private interests ahead of the common good.


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