Tell me if this sounds familiar: the leadership of a distant nation has its own ideas about whom you should vote for, or who should rule your country, and acts decisively on them, affecting an election. Such interference in the political life of another country must be a reference to… no, I’m not thinking about Vladimir Putin and the American election of 2016, but perhaps the Italian election of 1948, or the Japanese election of 1958, or the Nicaraguan election of 1990 — all ones in which the U.S. had a significant hand and affected the outcome. Or what about an even cruder scenario than just handing over suitcases of cash to those you support or producing “fake news” to influence another country’s voting behavior? How about just overthrowing an already elected democratic government you find distasteful and installing one more to your liking, as in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, or Chile in 1973?
This past summer I served as an Academic Affiliate of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST). A cross-agency group of applied behavioral scientists authorized to advise Federal agencies by an Executive Order of President Obama, SBST applies findings from the social and behavioral sciences to improve Federal policies and programs. For me – an economist whose research incorporates psychological research findings into models of economic behavior – this gig offered an opportunity to see directly how my research interests could be put to real-world use.
SBST’s job is an important one. Many Federal programs face serious challenges when it comes to the way in which real-live people interact with them. Websites often present constituents with information about Federal programs that is daunting to read and sort through. Intended beneficiaries often fail to find out about key Federal programs, causing the money allocated to help them to go unutilized or to go to people whose need is not as great. Perhaps you can recall a time when someone told you about a Federal program you should consider taking advantage of, but you didn’t because you feared having to navigate the various web pages, publications, and forms. SBST’s task is to provide Federal agencies the help they need to make government work better for real humans, so that we humans can benefit more – and more easily – from what government does.
Photo caption: Fnu Duojizhand, Anasimon Takla, Juan Pablo Celis and Anne Joost
In 2013 the City College of New York (CCNY) became one of a handful of colleges in New York to be associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). This year, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership and its interdisciplinary International Studies Program are revitalizing the NGO initiative.
Since 2013, CCNY NGO has worked on becoming an active member of international civil society and on promoting the participation of its academic community in United Nations activities. CCNY NGO complements other campus initiatives such as Diplomat-in-Residence, CCNY membership in the UN Academic Impact, and the Model United Nations (MUN), all of which are dedicated to educating future leaders in global affairs.
By Vince Boudreau, Dean
This past Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting a group of young alumni from across the different departments of the Colin Powell School. I wanted to pull them together to discuss recent developments at the school – programs we have been building, our successes and our challenges. It was a gathering that in part advanced one of my early goals as dean of the school: to hold regular consultations with concerned alumni, share information, and ask them to think with me about the development of our school, and how they can help.
I wanted, first off, to remind the assembled friends of the great mission our school’s founding ushered in. Budget shortfalls have made for some stiff headwinds since that May day in 2013, but it remains true that founding and developing the Colin Powell School provided the chance to imagine the very best kind of education for our students—an education that deeply engages them in issues that will shape their lives and prepares them for service in leadership positions. I wanted to remind them that the dreams and aspirations of current students are no different than those that drew generations to CCNY over the decades. I wanted to excite them with the possibility that each year we will build something new to burnish the legacy of their alma mater. And I wanted emphatically to say how important they would be in that process.
***A note from Ms. Saikia: All views expressed are my personal views and are not necessarily the views or the position of the Administration or the Government of the United States of America. Thank you.
1. You have been working in the Office of Management and Budget and we wonder, when you first applied to the PSM program, where did you imagine your degree would take you?
I pursued an MPA at The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership because it was my understanding that in order to advocate powerfully on behalf of the public I needed to further my education.
When I applied to the PSM program, I was two years out of my undergraduate program, during which I spent some time working at a human rights advocacy firm in Cambodia. I was inspired to make this trip because by the time I had my diploma I decided that a career in the public sector or social services would best fit my values. My training in economics prepared me to approach problems analytically, but I wanted to learn how to approach problem solving through a macroscopic lens.
My MPA experience certainly added to my ability to think critically, but it also taught me how to evaluate policy ideas and articulate abstract concepts, and it provided me with ample practice to hone skills to work well on a team, which is fundamental to my job.
By Professor Rajan Menon (originally written for the National Interest, 9/12/2016)
Few will say it, but the facts are indisputable: America’s war in Afghanistan has failed. There comes a time when persisting in a lost cause amounts to foolishness, indeed irresponsibility. That time has arrived.
Washington’s minimal goals were to vanquish the Taliban, root out Al Qaeda and build a stable, effective government whose army and police would eventually fight the Taliban independently and successfully while maintaining law and order across the land. These objectives have not been meet.
Amid apparent snubs in Asia, Obama ‘doesn’t have any leverage’ left but can lay groundwork for Clinton
The following article was originally run by http://www.cbc.ca/; written by Matt Kwong, Reporter
Spare a thought for U.S. President Barack Obama. Being commander in chief isn’t what it used to be.
It’s hard to say when, over the course of his second term, Obama changed from lion of democracy abroad to a lame-duck head of state. To scholars on presidential powers, though, a level of perceived discourtesy afforded to him during last week’s G20 summit in Asia was the clearest sign yet that his global authority is waning.