newsId: 85E0B074-5056-AF26-BE6F85A087C0E805
Title: Kogod Ramps Up for Small Business Saturday
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Abstract: Ever heard of small business Saturday? If you’re a local business-lover like us, it’s definitely a day worth celebrating.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 11/20/2017
Content:

We’d wager that most of you know about the shopping mega-day Black Friday. There’s also Cyber Monday…and, if you’re in the fundraising world, Giving Tuesday. Ever heard of small business Saturday, though? If you’re a local business-lover like us, it’s definitely a day worth celebrating.

Small Business Saturday, held this year on Saturday, November 25, “celebrates and supports small businesses and all they do for their communities,” according to the Small Business Association. It was founded by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop small during the holiday season—and to give retailers the chance to gain valuable exposure in their local marketplaces.

In 2016, American Express estimated that small business owners generated $15.4 billion dollars. Approximately 112 million people participated, shopping at 6,700 different stores in all 50 states. Those are no small numbers—or slight economic impact.

“Small businesses are, and will continue to be, the heartbeat of America. As the overall retail industry continues a major transformation, those entrepreneurs who offer specialized and unique products will be clear winners,” says Tommy White, Executive-in-Residence at the Kogod School of Business. “Small Business Saturday is a great way to recognize the spirit and diversity of these amazing entrepreneurs who provide a critical anchor to all our local communities.”

The Washington, DC, local business community has some exciting plans for Small Business Saturday, 2017. Stores are featuring special sales, give-aways and fun events throughout the day to celebrate. To give you a taste of what’s in store (no pun intended), we’ve done a bit of research…

…Here’s five neighborhoods in the DMV we’d recommend visiting on the 25th – some with killer deals, others with special events– but all in support of local business.

Georgetown

There are more than 300 small businesses in Georgetown—from doughnut shops to olive oil stores. Read about their special deals and promotions to help you plan your day. Georgetown BID is also sponsoring a neighborhood-wide promotion: shoppers receive a Small Business Saturday bag with purchase of any participating store. Ten of the bags will include a golden ticket, redeemable for a $100 AMEX gift card.

Alexandria

Alexandria boasts more than 50 independently owned boutiques, all with special activities planned. There’s live music, shopping and activities at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, surprise giveaways, and a Santa Stroll planned for 11 a.m.! Read more about what Alexandria’s got planned.

Shaw

On November 25, Shaw will cut ribbons at a dozen new Shaw businesses, expanding it’s already thriving local business scene. They’ll be holiday craft-making and entertainment, and free hot chocolate and cider. To cap off the day, watch the tree lighting at City Market at O. A full schedule and list of participating businesses will be posted as the event approaches.

Petworth

Don’t miss the Small Business Saturday Shopping Crawl! Upshur Street Books; Annie's Ace Hardware; Fido and Kitty's World; Fias Fab Finds; and Lulabelle's Sweet Shop are all participants. Every participant will receive a free tote bag, and has the opportunity to collect gifts and prizes at each location. Yoga lovers: be sure to attend Lighthouse Yoga Center’s free 60-minute Hatha class at 2 p.m. to relieve holiday stress!

Monroe Street

If you’re an arts lover, stop by Monroe Street to support its nearly 30 local artists on the Arts Walk. Small Businesses at the Market include The Bike Rack, Brookland Pint, Busboys & Poets, Fox Loves Taco, and Wardman Wines. More details here.

Learn more about Small Business Saturday and its economic value.

Kogod School of Business wishes you a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

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Title: Cuba Libre: New Book Recommends Foreign Policy with Empathy
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: SIS Professor Philip Brenner explores Cuban history and identity.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 11/20/2017
Content:

For such a small island, Cuba has occupied an inordinately large space in the public imagination. With its proximity and perceived hostility, Cuba became a Cold War hotspot and US foreign policy obsession. Yet the Cuban perspective is often, surprisingly, lost in any discussion about Cuban interests. Philip Brenner, an American University School of International Service professor, attempts to rectify that in a recent book, Cuba Libre: A 500-Year Quest for Independence.

The book-coauthored with veteran journalist Peter Eisner-is an examination of Cuba's history, identity, and motivations. In understanding how Cubans think and feel, Brenner believes there are lessons for the United States.

"I think a successful US foreign policy is done empathetically. Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy is putting yourself in the other person's shoes, and most importantly, then seeing yourself as the other sees you," says Brenner in an interview.

A Bird That Can't Be Caged

In researching Cuba, Brenner found a persistent desire for independence and sovereignty. On the back of the Cuba Libre book, there's a picture of a trogon-Cuba's national bird. Its feathers are the colors of Cuba's flag, but Brenner notes an added significance. "This is a bird that refuses to be caged. If it's caged, it dies. And put into captivity, it demands to be free," says Brenner, also an AU affiliate professor of history.

Given Cuba's history of resisting imperialism, the book begins with the arrival of Columbus in 1492. The Cuban revolution, as Cubans see it, dates to 1868 and the 10-year war against Spanish colonizers. Spain eventually implemented a few reforms, and some Cuban rebels agreed to a compromise, Brenner says. But Antonio Maceo refused to stop fighting, since the new pact lacked decolonization or the abolition of slavery. He issued the "Protest of Baraguá," a rallying cry that Cuban leaders still cite today.

(Mis)Remember the Maine!

There's a contrast in perspectives when reviewing the Spanish-American War in 1898. Cubans don't even call it the "Spanish-American War," but the "War of Independence." "It's as if we call the American Revolution the 'Franco-British War,' since France supported the US," he says. "It's an insult."

Although the US purportedly entered the war to expel Spain and help the Cubans, Brenner says American intentions were much less noble. "We were worried that the Cubans, who were about to win their independence from Spain, would hurt US property," he explains. "We had sent the USS Maine there to let the rebels know that we were looking after our property. And, of course, the explosion of the Maine is what prompted us to ultimately get into the war."

Cuba wasn't even allowed to attend the peace treaty signing between the US and Spain. Against that backdrop, it's no wonder Cuba felt it was treated like colony, Brenner says. "Ever since that war, we thought of Cuba as our 'Pearl of the Antilles,' in some ways the way Britain thought of India as its 'Jewel in the Crown.'"

Beyond "13 Days"

The revolutionaries who overthrew the Fulgencio Batista regime in 1959 were determined to prevent the United States from snatching victory from Cuban hands again. From the US perspective, this made Cuba an enemy, and the worst US fears were realized when the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles there in 1962. Yet the US and Cuba remember the Cuban Missile Crisis quite differently. While the US clings to the fabled "13 Days," used for the title of Bobby Kennedy's memoir, Cuba dates the crisis to the CIA-supported Bay of Pigs Invasion and the ensuing "Operation Mongoose" covert mission to overthrow the Cuban government. Brenner explains why the Soviet missile deployment itself was misunderstood.

"Cubans felt they needed a way to defend themselves. They asked the Soviets for support, and what the Soviets offered them were missiles. They did not want missiles. What they wanted was a promise that the Soviets would help defend them," he notes.

Cuba soon believed the Soviet Union betrayed them as well. Feeling under siege, Fidel Castro cracked down on internal security. Brenner and Eisner don't shy away from detailing the serious human rights violations in the 1960s, but they do put them in context.

"The violations were terrible. I can't justify it, but I can understand it. They felt totally isolated and alone. And they started to export revolution, because they had to find allies in the Third World," he says, which led to increased tensions with the US.

Throughout his lengthy reign, Castro attempted to project national strength through multiple avenues, from world-class health care to competitive sports. "I think that what Fidel Castro wanted to give Cubans was a sense of dignity," he says. Yet he was unable to build a younger generation that could sustain any progress. "Ultimately, he didn't succeed, but he did give people a sense of being Cuban."

Diplomacy Matters

Brenner first traveled to Cuba in 1974, and in the book, he draws on some four decades of trips and research. Cuba Libre includes interviews with government officials and people on the street. There will be a major book presentation in Cuba in December, and he's also scheduled to talk at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico.

Along with improving diplomacy toward Cuba, he believes the book is pertinent to how the US conducts foreign policy around the world.

"Little countries that care about their sovereignty are going to find ways to defend themselves. They'll do this in ways that we may not be able to imagine, and in ways that will cause us much more trouble than if we tried to talk to them," he says. "We have to understand their history, and their history with us."

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Title: Volcanic Eruptions in the Age of Climate Change
Author: Valentina Aquila
Subtitle:
Abstract: Valentina Aquila, an assistant professor of environmental science, is an atmospheric scientist who uses global climate models, as well as satellite, aircraft, and ground based observation to understand the role aerosols play in the world’s climate system.
Topic: Science
Publication Date: 11/20/2017
Content:

Valentina Aquila, an assistant professor of environmental science, is an atmospheric scientist who uses global climate models, as well as satellite, aircraft, and ground based observation to understand the role aerosols play in the world's climate system. She focuses on aerosols resulting from volcanic eruptions, geoengineering, and pollution.

Here she talks about her career and her latest research.

Large volcanic eruptions like Bali's Mount Agung in 1963, or Mount Pinatubo in 1991, inject large amounts of sulfate aerosol particles into the stratosphere, which is normally nearly completely clean of particulates. There, these aerosol particles reflect solar radiation back to space, effectively cooling the Earth's surface. But sulfate aerosol in the stratosphere also enhances the destruction of ozone, interfering with the recovery of the ozone hole. I study these volcanic eruptions and how exactly they affect the Earth's climate. To do this, I use a global climate model, along with satellite observations.

After obtaining an MS in physics at the University of Genoa, Italy, I moved to Munich, Germany, to pursue a PhD in meteorology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University. There, I carried out a PhD thesis at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- un Raumfahrt, DLR), where I started exploring the capabilities of climate modeling and figured out a way to model the transformation of soot and dust aerosol into cloud forming particles by changes in their properties.

I moved to the United States to start a postdoc at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and then worked as a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University. During these years, my research moved from the troposphere to the stratosphere, where I applied my expertise in climate modeling to stratospheric aerosol from volcanic eruptions. Through targeted model simulations, I study the interplay between chemistry, radiation, and dynamics in the atmosphere.

Other Sources of Aerosol

Volcanic eruptions are not the only source of aerosol in the stratosphere. Man-made tropospheric pollution is brought to the stratosphere within convective systems, such as the North American and the Asian Monsoon, and intense forest fires can project carbonaceous particles across the tropopause in spectacular events called pyrocumulonimbus, or pyroCb.

Lastly, recent observations have shown that even small volcanic eruptions, which were previously thought to be confined to the troposphere, can reach the stratosphere when taking place in favorable locations or time of the year. Since observations have shown a sizeable increase in stratospheric aerosol by up to 7 percent per year, I am performing model experiments to track the contribution of each of these sources to such increases, to determine the man-made and natural contributions to climate change.

Geoengineering

My lab also works on geoengineering. Given the observed cooling of the surface temperatures after a volcanic eruption, scientists are now working on the possibility of injecting sulfate aerosol into the stratosphere with the goal of counteracting global warming, a method called solar radiation management. This idea is still in its infancy, and there has been no deployment yet that could give actual data. Scientists still need to understand how effectively this technique would work the goal of counteracting global warming, and what the side effects would be. This is a task that can only be achieved through climate simulations, because a deployment would be too dangerous until the complete climate impact has been assessed.

My Students

I started my new appointment at AU in August 2017, and I look forward to engaging with AU students. Students in my lab will be given opportunities to develop skills in computer programming and statistical analysis of large datasets. I have ongoing collaborations with NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, MD, and I would like to see my students take advantage of these connections to gain valuable experience outside AU.

Feel free to contact me via email or to drop by my office if you would like more information about my lab and my work. I hope to meet you soon!

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Title: The Princeton Review Ranks Kogod Greatest Opportunities for Minorities, Women
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Abstract: This Fall, The Princeton Review ranked Kogod #3 for greatest opportunities for minorities, and #4 for greatest opportunities for women.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 11/17/2017
Content:

Washington, DC, November 17, 2017 – American University’s Kogod School of Business is an outstanding business school, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company profiles the school in its 2018 annual business school rankings at www.princetonreview.com/business-school-rankings/best-business-schools

The 2018 Best Business Schools list ranks on-campus MBA programs, on-campus MBA programs by category, and best online MBA programs. The on-campus MBA cohort includes 267 business schools which were selected using a combination of factors, including institutional and student survey data. According to Robert Franek, Princeton Review Senior VP-Publisher, "We recommend Kogod as one of the best to earn an MBA.”

The Princeton Review's on-campus MBA survey interviewed 23,000 students attending the 267 featured schools about their business school's academics, student body, and campus life, as well as about themselves and their career plans. The student surveys that were used were completed online at http://survey.review.com and conducted in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 academic years.

Kogod received two outstanding On-campus MBA by Category rankings. The school was ranked #3 for greatest opportunities for minorities, and #4 for greatest opportunities for women. These are based on MBA student ratings of the resources available for minority students and women, in addition to institutional data. Diversity in the student body, how supportive the campus culture is of minority students, and whether case study materials reflect women in business were also factors in selection.

“I am especially delighted by these rankings because they affirm our ability to practice our core value of diversity and inclusion, and because they confirm our dedication to furthering it in the future,” says John T. Delaney, Dean of the Kogod School of Business.

The Princeton Review also features Kogod in its business school profiles, which has sections on academics, student life, admissions information and graduates’ employment data. American University and Kogod are described as places where “students learn from leaders in their fields, are engaged in active citizenship, and strive to make a difference in the world.” Current students describe the school as having a distinct "emphasis on cooperation rather than competition.” Kogod has "lots of good clubs" and is "very active;” it is also "small and easy to get around.”

There are 18 MBA by Category rankings on the 2018 Best Business Schools list. Other categories include Best Green MBA; Most Family Friendly; Best Professors; Best Career Prospects; and Best Administered, among others. Kogod is one of 71 schools included in Best Business Schools 2018 (27% of the 267 profiled) that appear on one or more of the project’s 18 ranking lists.

Kogod is honored to be recognized by the Princeton Review for its investment in minority populations and women. The school looks forward to continuing serving these groups, as well as all students in their MBA program.

About the Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The company is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit www.PrincetonReview.com. Follow the company on Twitter @ThePrincetonRev

Learn more about Kogod’s MBA program.

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Title: 'Get Out' Is a Comedy? Russell Williams Explains
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Abstract: A distinguished filmmaker in residence at American University's School of Communication explains why Get Out is entered as a comedy in the Golden Globe awards.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 11/17/2017
Content:

Get Out was released earlier this year as a horror movie, but it has now been announced that Universal Pictures it will compete in the comedy category at the 2018 Golden Globes, which has led some to accuse the studio of minimizing the importance of the film's subject.

In an interview on WUSA9 Russell Williams, a distinguished artist in residence at American University School of Communication gives insight into why the studio likely made this decision. He also shares his own thoughts, including that he thinks Get Out has created a new genre.

Jordan Peele, the director of the film, has expressed his frustration with the studio's decision. In an interview on IndieWire, he said, "What the movie is about is not funny. I've had many black people come up to me and say, 'man, this is the movie we've been talking about for a while and you did it.' That's a very powerful thing. For that to be put in a smaller box than it deserves is where the controversy comes from."

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Title: An Investment in the Sciences at AU
Author: Mackenzie Kelley, BS Student, Biochemistry
Subtitle:
Abstract: The new Don Myers Building will be home to the departments of physics, mathematics and statistics, and computer science.
Topic: Science
Publication Date: 11/15/2017
Content:

The Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building has been a long time coming. Rumors and excitement about the construction of the building have long since circulated across campus. At last, the day that students and faculty have been anxiously awaiting has arrived; the wait has been well worth it. The last touches are being added, equipment and supplies are being ordered, and professors are in the midst of moving their offices and labs. Come fall 2017, all the offices will be full, and the lecture halls, classrooms, and teaching labs will hold students eager to begin their courses in the brand new building.

The building is located on East Campus. It will be the home to the departments of physics, mathematics and statistics, and computer sci- ence, and sharing a single building will create an even stronger interdisciplinary community between these areas of research. In addition to faculty offices, classrooms, and teaching labs, the building will include the Kogod Center for Innovation, as well as a maker space lab called STEAMWORKS (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). The Kogod Center for Innovation is a new effort to catalyze innovation activities on campus and give students tools and resources to develop the technology behind their business ideas. The maker space lab, modelled after the Maker Movement, will have equipment for building, fabricating, and designing, so that students can learn to fully utilize modern technology to create things for themselves. The lab will have a CNC milling machine, which can be programmed to cut things that are extremely customized. There will also be a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a wide range of other instruments, electronics, and microcontrollers. Philip Johnson, depart- ment chair of physics and the new College of Arts and Sciences associate dean of research, envisions this lab as a way to serve students and faculty from all areas of study to increase their level of creativity in anything that they want to do.

Working towards a STEM degree is no easy feat. The STEM students at AU are hard working and dedicated to learning in hopes of contribut- ing to their future fields, whatever they may be. Here at AU, we are surrounded by supportive and compassionate faculty, motivating peers, and ample opportunities for research positions and internships on campus and in the city. However, until now, the physics, mathematics and statistics, and computer science departments have been housed in the far corners of campus and even split up among multiple locations. This has made interdepartment communication and community building more of a challenge. The importance and value of this building to the current and future STEM students of AU cannot be overstated. This building is a sign of the university’s commitment to supporting the STEM students and departments. It is a great investment that will result in a tighter-knit community, a bigger campus-wide emphasis on science and technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for long-deserving students and faculty. Furthermore, this science and technology stronghold will make the resources and expertise of these departments easily accessible to students from every major. There is no limit to the innovative ideas and research that the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building will foster this academic year and for years to come.

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Title: Fundraising Underway for New Hall of Science
Author: Elizabeth Harless, Assistant Dean of Development
Subtitle:
Abstract: American University has launched an initiative to raise $40 million to construct a state-of-the-art Hall of Science.
Topic: Science
Publication Date: 11/15/2017
Content:

American University has launched an initiative to raise $40 million to construct a state-of-the-art Hall of Science. AU is investing in a modern, open facility that encourages innovation, spurs interdisciplinary interaction, integrates the sciences into campus life, and equips students and faculty for success.

Science is the fastest growing area of undergraduate study at AU. Furthermore, because modern challenges are highly complex, requiring input from multiple disciplines within every school of American University–from the Kogod School of Business to the School of Communication–there are vital issues that are rooted in the need for strong science. Science is at the center of confronting issues ranging from biological and chemical terrorism, disease, hunger, and climate change, to name but a few. Our world is increasingly interdependent causes and solutions in the sciences are affecting decisions about policy, economics, communications, law, and diplomacy. AU faculty and students in all disciplines will be better positioned to tackle the issues of our day with the strengthened science opportunities created by the new Hall of Science.

External grant funding for scientific research at AU has increased 81.4 percent over the past seven years, evidence of the university's commitment to relevant, innovative scholarship. In part because of such grants, AU rose to the R2 research category in the Carnegie Classification, a prestigious comparative framework that analyzes universities based on the level of their research activity. Yet American University scientists are attempting to undertake advanced twenty-first-century research in early twentieth-century facilities. If AU has achieved so much with limited infrastructure, just imagine what our students and faculty can realize in a truly exceptional, functional building.

Designed to support current research, the Hall of Science is planned with flexibility to accommodate the ever-changing directions of future scientific discovery. The new building will transform the ways AU teaches, learns, and conducts collaborative research across disciplines. Faculty members have been involved in the planning of the building from the start.

The new facility's greatest innovation is its focus on connecting people. Knowing that interdisciplinary teamwork is ever more important to scientists' ability to address great questions of our time, and to secure external grants that will enable additional pioneering research, the building design encourages students and faculty to join together and collaborate. In the new Hall of Science, faculty will be organized by functional lab groupings, rather than along traditional department lines. Lab groupings will increase opportunities for cross-disciplinary research while improving operating efficiency. Each lab grouping will have a core facility with instrumentation shared by its members, eliminating redundancies in equipment and allowing faculty to better anticipate future instrument needs.

AU's science faculty pride themselves on being both excellent researchers and outstanding teachers. The Hall of Science design includes optimal learning spaces that are modern and flexible to support advanced studies. Its upgraded facilities also position AU for more grant-funded opportunities as researchers utilize more advanced labs, increase interdepartmental collaborations, and have the infrastructure to feed their intellectual curiosity and concepts. The Hall of Science will help retain our current educators by allowing them the space and materials necessary to expand their research, while also attracting new and varied talent from the scientific community.

In summary, investing in the sciences at American University by creating a modern collaborative facility will stir growth and accomplishment. The new building will:

  • Attract a new caliber of students and faculty members;

  • Enhance the student experience;

  • Encourage experts from multiple fields to work side by side on innovative problem-solving;

  • Allow AU to launch new academic programs in the sciences;

  • Serve as a significant hub for discovery;

  • Promote communication, collaboration, and shared exploration of key issues across disciplines to address some of the most pressing concerns of our time.

Securing the funds for the state-of-the-art facility will transform the university, advance scientific discovery, and expand opportunity. Fundraising is currently underway to secure a modern facility that is as innovative as the scholarship undertaken within its walls.

To learn more about plans for the Hall of Science, or to become more involved, please contact Elizabeth Harless, Assistant Dean for Development of the College of Arts and Sciences at harless@american.edu or 202-885-5900.

To make a gift to the sciences at AU or the Hall of Science, please visit american.edu/giving.

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Title: Inspiring Change, Making a Difference
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle: Kogod Senior Genever Oppong becomes an ELC Scholar in pursuit of business excellence
Abstract: Genever Oppong, BSA minoring in finance, ’18, is a change-maker. It’s why she pursued business education in the first place.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 11/15/2017
Content:

Genever Oppong, BSA minoring in finance, ’18, is a change-maker. It’s why she pursued business education in the first place.

“I looked at my environment and asked, with my passions and my skillset, how can I make a difference?” she says. “I wanted to speak for people whose struggles weren’t [acknowledged].”

From the Beginning

Oppong, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, grew up in a high-crime area in Newark, New Jersey. She witnessed the challenges of poverty matched with a broken education system—an experience that ultimately informed her passion for business.

Oppong realized becoming a business professional could help her invoke change. Through business, she could develop the tools needed to foster a strong community voice. It was a pathway towards meaningful impact.

In 2014, Oppong enrolled at Kogod and her journey began.

She hit the ground running. Oppong interned at the Trust for the National Mall her freshman year, was a Teen Ambassador Program Mentor for the Smithsonian Museum of African Art her sophomore year, and worked two internships with Goldman Sachs in Jersey City. “There was a lot I wanted to do,” Oppong laughs.

In 2016, she pursued another life-altering opportunity—one that’s become a major landmark in her business career. Oppong applied to the Executive Leadership Council’s scholarship program, which offers a generous monetary award, extensive networking opportunities and professional development. She was unsure about her chances to win, but thought she’d give it a shot.

Oppong’s doubt quickly dissipated. Not only did she receive an award, but she won first place in her category, Excellence in Business Commentary.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I felt excited, surprised and incredibly blessed.”

The Start of Something Big

The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), a non-profit membership organization based in Alexandria, VA, aims to build a pipeline of African-American talent in the business world by supporting talented black students. Their scholarship program, open to both undergraduate and graduate students, includes five separate categories, with the Excellence in Business Commentary essay competition as the primary undergraduate award for students attending non-HBCUs.

The Honors Symposium is the highlight of the program. Scholarship recipients attend a weeklong convention held in New York City and Maryland meeting leading corporate executives, going on site visits and attending networking events. This year’s Symposium, held the last week of October, left Oppong “in awe of everything. It motivated me to work even harder so I can achieve my aspirations,” she says.

Oppong didn’t just attend the symposium, though. She was an active participant in its operation.

As a first-place winner, Oppong was invited to moderate a panel discussion featuring top Coca-Cola executives, the company who sponsored her scholarship. Oppong admits it was intimidating, but she tried to approach it as a learning experience: an opportunity to foster an engaging, candid conversation.

The most important outcome was added value, says Oppong. She aimed to bridge the gap between what executives (employers) and scholars (employees) wanted in the workplace, crafting her questions to consider both parties’ interests.

“An authentic, genuine conversation where you’re really involved in learning about each other was my goal,” she says.

A Dream, Realized

For Oppong, the most impactful part of the Symposium wasn’t moderating the panel. It was meeting the executives in attendance—many of whom she considers her heroes.

Historically, there have been five notable African American CEOs of US Fortune 500 companies. A majority of the cohort, whom Oppong idolized long before starting her own business career, was at the Symposium. Kenneth Chenault of American Express; Arnold Donald of Carnival; and Kenneth Frazier, of Merck & Co, were all present.

“I couldn’t believe I had the chance to meet these incredible people. Before I even joined Kogod, I had them as the screensaver on my computer,” Oppong laughs.

The group was part of her inspiration for pursuing business. Their leadership showed the disparity of African-Americans in corporate America—especially black women. Oppong wanted to be part of changing this inequality.

“When I realized how few Black leaders there were—and that only one of them, Ursula Burns, was a woman—I made a resolution. I want to become the second African-American female CEO of a fortune 500 company,” Oppong says.

Looking Ahead

Her aspiration is high, yes, but many believe Oppong has what it takes to achieve it. Bill Bellows, Kogod professor of entrepreneurship and longtime mentor to Oppong, recalls when they first met. “I asked my students why they wanted to study business, and Genever looked me in the eye and told me her dream, without hesitation,” he says. “There was something about the way she said it that make me think, ‘this is somebody with a clear goal, courage and real passion.”

Oppong admits she couldn’t be successful today—or realize her future dreams—without her mentors at Kogod. She says the school has supported her academically, professionally, and financially—from mentorship at the KCCD to one-on-ones with professors like Bellows. “Without this community helping me become the best version of myself, I wouldn’t be where I am,” she says.

Oppong has many aspirations for the future. She hopes to become a member of the Executive Leadership Council herself. She wants to act as a mentor to other students and co-workers to “help people in any way possible.” And she’s certainly continuing to work towards her ultimate goal of becoming a CEO.

Most of all, though, Oppong wants to make a difference. It’s what underlies everything she does—whether she’s leading a panel discussion with Coca-Cola executives, or completing a project for Kogod. She wants to let her own voice shine, while empowering others to share theirs.

“It’s why I’m in business. I want to be the voice for my community and give back,” Oppong says. “I hope I can inspire great change along the way.”

Learn more about the Executive Leadership Council and their scholarship program.

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Title: SOC goes to NCA 2017
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Abstract: Faculty and PhD students will represent the School of Communication at the National Communication Association annual conference on November 16-19, 2017.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 11/14/2017
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School of Communication Faculty and PhD students will present their research on the power of comedy, social media, Spanish language news and more at the National Communication Association annual convention in Dallas, Texas on November 16-19, 2017. This is NCA's 103rd annual convention and the theme this year will be Our Legacy, Our Relevance.

Caty Borum Chattoo, Executive in Residence
Director, Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI) at American University School of Communication

Presenter
Oscars So White (and Male): Diversity and Social Issues in Academy Awards-Recognized Documentary Feature Films (2008-2017)
Competitive paper
11/17/2017 12:30 PM
Majestic 6 - 37th Floor (Center Tower)

Panelist
Ask an Activist
Panel
11/18/2017 3:30 PM
Dallas Ballroom Foyer - First Floor (Conference Center)

Presenter
The Laughter Effect: Toward a Framework for Understanding the (Serious) Role of Comedy in Social Justice
Competitive paper
11/19/2017 9:30 AM
State Room 2 - Third Floor (Conference Center)


Samantha Dols
, PhD candidate

Presenter
Slow Power
Competitive Paper
11/17/2017 3:30 PM
Sheraton Room: Majestic 3 - 37th Floor (Center Tower)


Arthur Soto
, PhD candidate

Panelist
Representations of Social Movements and Activism on Social Media
Panel
11/16/2017 12:30 PM
Sheraton, City View 6 - Fourth Floor

Presenter 
Spanish Language News & Latino Identity Formation 
Competitive Paper
11/17/2017 11:00 AM 
Sheraton, Remington - Fourth Floor

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Title: Did Trump’s charm offensive work in the Philippines?
Author: Professor Jessica Trisko Darden
Subtitle:
Abstract: President Trump's whirlwind tour of Asia revealed that Trump’s style of diplomacy focuses more on his personal relationships with world leaders than diplomatic relations between countries.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/14/2017
Content:

President Donald J. Trump is wrapping up a whirlwind tour of Asia, visiting five countries in 12 days. The trip revealed much about Trump's style of diplomacy—one that focuses more on his personal relationships with world leaders than diplomatic relations between countries.

Both democratic and authoritarian leaders have been wooed by Trump's charm offensive. He has highlighted his warm feelings toward China's President Xi Jinping and tweeted that he tries "so hard to be [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's] friend."

Trump's relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the first leaders welcomed to Trump Tower after the election, is "extraordinary," according to the president.

This style of diplomacy certainly has its limitations, but could it actually improve the United States' relationship with the Philippinesa key Southeast Asian ally?

Why we need our allies in Asia

On the campaign trail and in office, Trump has often criticized many of America's allies for taking advantage of Washington's generosity and not contributing more to their own national security. However, my research with Queen's University political scientist Stefanie von Hlatky demonstrates that even when allies fail to share as much of the military burden as the United States would hope, they still make meaningful contributions to our military efforts overseas.

Our alliance relationships in Asia are based on a series of mutual defense treaties negotiated in the aftermath of World War II. The US-Philippines Mutual Defense treaty signed in 1951 focuses on the countries' shared history of resistance against Japan's "imperialist aggression" in the Pacific. It commits the two nations to mutual aid in defending against an external armed attack as part of a comprehensive system of regional security. Given the possibility of a future confrontation with China over the South China Sea, alliances with countries like the Philippines matter. After all, the Philippines provides access to regional bases and other logistical support.

New leaders, unexpected directions

Since the election of the populist Duterte in May 2016, the US-Philippines alliance has been on rocky ground.

The Obama-Duterte relationship was full of tension stemming from the Obama administration's criticism of Duterte's violent war on drugs, which some claim has now led to approximately 13,000 deaths. Duterte showed no hesitation in calling out the United States for treating the Philippines like a colony, insulting Obama, and musing that he might shift his foreign policy toward China and Russia and "break up with America."

Trump's election and his overtures to Duterte have helped get the strained relationship back on the right track. The two men bonded over their countries' mutual struggle with drugs. They claimed a shared understanding about the importance of protecting one's country. In fact, the administration signaled that Trump's heavily criticized invitation to Duterte to visit the White House was a sign of the "very positive direction" of the US-Philippines relationship under his leadership.

It is therefore no surprise that the two leaders met privately during Trump's Asia visit. Topics on the table included terrorismespecially the Philippine military's recent success against militants linked to Islamic State in the southern region of Mindanaotrade and their respective anti-drug campaigns.

Can Trump revive the relationship?

The extent to which the topic of human rights came up in their conversation is unclear. Trump has already been criticized for failing to press harder on this issue. However, it is possible that Trump rightly understands that pushing Duterte on human rights would continue to move Duterte away from the West and toward China.

Trump's comments in China mingled criticism of China's trade practices with praise of President Xi. However, in the Philippines, Trump chose to forgo this more nuanced approach, leaving diplomatic opportunities on the table. In praising Duterte's handling of an Islamist insurgency, Trump could have pushed for an end to martial law in Mindanao. In highlighting how the United States helped in the battle against Islamist militants, Trump could have laid out how much more we can do to improve security and help to rebuild the city of Marawi, which was devastated by the Philippines' bombing campaign.

Trump's style of diplomacy and his foreign policy agenda are a radical departure from his predecessor's. In the Philippines, this shift is largely welcome. Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos surveyed by Pew Research Center in late September of this year had confidence that Trump would do the right thing in world affairs.

On his first official visit to the country, Trump praised his treatment in the Philippines as "red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received." In turn, he was officially declared "a friend of the Duterte administration."

The ConversationUltimately, a positive change in the direction of US-Philippines relations may come down to whether Trump and Duterte's mutual admiration is enough to shift the Philippines' foreign policy back toward the United States. Doing so will likely require avoiding discussion of human rights, leaving Filipinos to bear the costs.

This article was originally published by Professor Jessica Trisko Darden on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Title: All-American Success!
Author: Carla Gochicoa, CAS/BA ’09
Subtitle:
Abstract: All-American Weekend was filled with laughter, great weather, and lots of fun! Hundreds of alumni returned relive their days at American University and participate in a wide variety of events throughout the city.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

All-American Weekend 2017 was the most successful ever! We had a 12% increase in attendees this year. The weekend was full of fun and laughter. Alumni and students brought their families and friends to share in the spirit of AU.

Alumni from the class of 1952 to the class of 2017 celebrated all things AU, renewed their connections to the university, and showed palpable excitement around the university's future. 

It was a beautiful weekend to launch several new events, including the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Faire, the Multicultural Alumni Reunion's Books and Brunch and Distinguished Alumni Panel events, and the Student Government and Eagle Staff Reunion.

Other highlights of the weekend were the Golden Eagles Luncheon, Class of 1967 Reception, Taste of AU, the Kennedy Political Union featuring Gabrielle Union, and the All-Alumni Party at the International Spy Museum (which had nearly 200 attendees). 

The weekend was a hit, and it's only going to get better. Thank you to everyone who attended. 

If you have not already done so, please fill out our All-American Weekend survey.

Be sure to check out our Flickr page for photos from the weekend!

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Board,Alumni Newsletter,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update,Alumni Weekend
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Title: A Look at Lebanon: Untangling the Relationship Between NGOs and Local Governments
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Abstract: A new report by SPA faculty explores the relationship between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments in developing countries.
Topic: Research
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

A recent roundtable hosted by the American University School of Public Affairs (SPA) faculty explored the relationship between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments in developing countries. The roundtable brought together representatives from federal agencies and international organizations based in the DC metro area.

The past decade has seen donor agencies' and international organizations' increased interest in scrutinizing the effectiveness of international aid and the sustainability of development. The emphasis on accountability has been mirrored by the trend of pushing aid to the local level, with NGOs acting as key players in delivering services to local beneficiaries. This raises questions about the nature of the relationships between NGOs and local governments in developing countries.

A new study conducted in Lebanon by a team of researchers including SPA Professor Jocelyn Johnston and Assistant Professor Khaldoun AbouAssi in collaboration with Professor Ann O'M. Bowman from the Bush School of Government and Public Service, further examines some of these questions. As part of their work, the researchers conducted two surveys, which were completed by a total of 248 local government officials and 223 NGO executives. The surveys investigated respondents' perceptions on issues ranging from how they are collaborating with one another to how decisions are made. "The promising news is that some type of collaborative arrangement across sectors is taking place and even among those who are not currently working together, there is a palpable interest to do so in the future," said Johnston. "We know from the surveys that local governments and NGOs have [a] common goal of improving the quality of local services and building public trust."

Key findings shared with the roundtable participants include the following:

  • The most common reason local governments don't work with NGOs is because of the lack of opportunities to do so.
  • The most common reason NGOs don't work with local governments is because of the lack of perceived benefit.
  • Local governments and NGO respondents do not always agree on the barriers to collaboration. For example, local governments believe NGOs are more interested in working with the central government and not their agencies, with which NGOs disagree, and NGOs are concerned that local governments' constrained authorities could hinder collaboration, with which local government respondents disagree.
  • There is little agreement on how collaboration works: 68 percent of local governments believe they coordinate their relationships with NGOs, but only 59 percent of NGOs agree.
  • The overwhelming majority of NGOs and local governments describe their relationships as supportive and coordination oriented.

"Another interesting finding," AbouAssi added, "is that some aspects of NGO relationships are vertical [rather] than horizontal, with NGOs overwhelmingly considering their relations with international organizations better than those with local governments; that is why international organizations are called upon to motivate NGOs' relations with local governments to ensure effectiveness of implementation and sustainability of results."

Representatives from the following organizations attended and participated in the roundtable discussion: Bank Information Center, Catholic Relief Services, Center for Strategic and International Studies, International Republican Institute, Management Systems International, National Democratic Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, United States Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State and the United States Institute of Peace.



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Title: Healing Together
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: Women of Color Healing and Empowerment Circles aim to help students replenish themselves in order to thrive and lead
Abstract: Women of Color Healing and Empowerment Circles aim to help students replenish themselves in order to thrive and lead.
Topic: Student Life
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

Like many schools across the U.S., the AU community has experienced incidents of racism. These occurrences have left many women of color feeling isolated and in need of a community to confront those feelings - while facing the pressures of academics and student leadership.

Finding One Another

Dr. Shatina Williams
Dr. Shatina Williams

Shatina Williams, Ph.D., AU Counseling Center's Assistant Director for Outreach and Consultation, saw this issue and felt a need to reach these women. She and Calvin Haney, Associate Director of Leadership Development for University Center, discussed how they can help.

They identified Sister Sister AU and AU Student Government's Women Initiative as two student groups to partner with. Together, they created three Women of Color Healing and Empowerment Circles dedicated to helping women of color at AU replenish themselves and reclaim their identity.

"A peer of mine told me, there is a difference between being woke and having insomnia. You want to be conscious and deliberate in leading, but if you are not doing that self-reflective piece, it can tear you apart," Williams said.

Healing

Sister Sister AU lead the first session and Devan Ogburn, SIS junior and President of Sister Sister AU, felt that before healing, the women first need to rid themselves of their stresses. "We had sisters first write down their stresses, and then talk through their experiences because vocalizing it can be a relief," Ogburn said. "Then we literally threw the stresses into a firepit."

 Healing Circle participants throwing their worries into the fire pit
Courtesy of Sister Sister AU

Ashlee Davis, Doctoral Clinical Intern for the Counseling Center, was there for the first session and said she was moved by the fire. "It was relieving and affirming to be able to share the space and burn items together in sisterhood," Davis said.

Davis' fellow intern Nisha Gupta also felt empowered by the fire. "For me, it was so much like letting go. Being with a group of women of color and letting go was very special," Gupta said.

Davis and Gupta lead the second session on behalf of the Counseling Center, and their goal was to create sisterhood, facilitate consciousness, and empower participants in the face of oppression. To help with that, they recited and discussed RuNett Nia Ebo's poem Lord, Lord Why Did You Make Me Black?

"The poem was to affirm the power and beauty of black women, especially in contrast to the Eurocentric standards of femininity, womanness, and attractiveness," Davis said.

The two counselors then gave everyone Akan names, which are based on the day of the week when they were born, and explained what those names meant. "One of the greatest challenges of slavery was the loss of our identity, including our names," Davis said.

"I think that was a really important step in the healing process because most of our identities are formulated by society. To move forward in working with others, you must know who you are first," Ogburn said.

Sisterhood

The healing circles have been very beneficial to all who have participated. For students, they found solace in the participation by the Counseling Center staff. "Since those women already went through it, they have a more empathetic ear," Ogburn said.

"Being able to share and feeling less isolated. I sensed that a lot of students were saying 'me too,'" Gupta said.

There is one more healing circle planned for the semester on Nov. 15, and there is a desire to continue these in the future to continue to empower and build connections.

Ogburn said she would like to see the healing circles go forward in a proactive way that does not wait for incidents to happen on campus. For it to be a lasting success, Williams encourages students to carry this forward as she has seen work at other universities. "What I would love to see is students take this and go for it on their own.... Some Universities have therapy groups for women of color every week. I would love to see that at AU," Williams said.

The next Women of Color Healing and Empowerment circle takes place Nov. 15, 5:30PM in MGC 3-4.

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Title: Shaping the Future – The 2017 President's Circle Celebration
Author: Pamela Roberts
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU donors and friends joined President Sylvia Burwell at the President’s Circle Celebration to celebrate and reflect on the many ways AU looks to the future and leads.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

American University is shaping the future. More than 250 AU donors and friends joined President Sylvia Burwell and AU leadership at the President’s Circle Celebration on October 19, the eve of All-American Weekend, to celebrate and reflect on the many ways AU looks to the future and leads.

The President’s Circle Celebration is a longstanding AU tradition to gratefully acknowledge the philanthropic leadership that empowers the university to continue its important work. Highlights of the event included the presentation of the Cyrus A. Ansary Medal to alumnus Mark Bergel, founder and executive director of A Wider Circle, and an on-stage discussion between President Burwell and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, on the future challenges and opportunities in U.S. national security.

For many of the attendees, it was a first opportunity to meet President Burwell, who began her tenure as AU’s 15th president on June 1. “In case you haven’t realized it, you’ve hit the jackpot,” said Haass, who has known Burwell for decades through work on the Council on Foreign Relations. “Some people are good at conceptual, some are operational, every blue moon someone comes along who’s both—someone who can work at 36,000 feet and at sea level. You’ve got that person here. Congratulations.”

Haass, an award-winning diplomat, advisor, and author of 13 books, joined Burwell in a conversation entitled, “Making a Difference: Future Challenges and Opportunities in U.S. National Security.” In a conversation that included developments in North Korea, China, and Russia in our interrelated world, though cautionary, Haass said it is an exhilarating time in foreign relations. “This a moment where you actually can feel history being shaped,” Haass said. “By far this has been the most exciting time to be in the field of international relations. We’re not debating how many warheads go on how many nuclear launchers, we’re debating first order questions—what is America’s role in the world, what is the nature of world order, how do we deal with globalization? This is the moment of creativity and formation in international relations in way we haven’t seen in centuries.”

In considering the role of universities in shaping the future, Haass remarked, “The things that drive history more than anything else are ideas and people. Guess what? AU is in the ideas and people business. Your graduates are going to leave here and have the capacity to make a difference.”

Mark Bergel, CAS/MS ’87, CAS/PHD ’96, also addressed AU’s role in making a difference as he accepted the Cyrus A. Ansary Medal in recognition of his leadership as a role model to American University’s students and alumni. Bergel, founder and executive director of A Wider Circle, is a trailblazer in the movement to end poverty. In 2001, Bergel, then teaching at American University, volunteered along with his students to deliver food to needy families in the national capital region. It was the impetus to begin the organization that has served more than 150,000 children and adults.

“AU has been the most influential place in my life,” Bergel said. “I started A Wider Circle while teaching a class in Hurst Hall and it was actually birthed from a class project. If not for American University students I would not have been able to get it off the ground.” He joked that there are so many “proud Eagles” as staff and volunteers of A Wider Circle that “it’s almost like AU east.”

“Every week people tell me that the needs are endless—I'm here to tell you that they're not. The needs are not endless: our capacity to help one another is endless, the solutions are endless, that's what is endless,” Bergel told the group. “AU taught me to change the reality of the most vulnerable among us. I believe we can end poverty because we must end poverty.”

The Cyrus A. Ansary Medal, established in 1990, is among the highest awards bestowed by American University each year to an individual of great distinction and leadership in civic and corporate affairs, as a role model to American University's students and alumni. Past recipients include J. Willard Marriott Jr., David Lloyd Kreeger, and Alan L. Meltzer. The AU Board of Trustees created the award to recognize the leadership and counsel of Ansary, a trustee from 1969 to 1996, serving as chairman from 1982 to 1989. Chairman emeritus Ansary attended the President’s Circle Celebration along with his wife, Jan, and members of his family. At the celebration, Courtney Surls, vice president of development and alumni relations, shared that the Ansary Foundation donated one million dollars this year to support new student scholarships. The Ansary-Kerwin Scholarships were named to recognize the work and achievements of former university president Neil Kerwin, and to celebrate the Ansary family’s long affiliation with American University.

Because student creativity and artistic expression connect to the wonders of the future, the President’s Circle Celebration also featured student work in audio technology, pop-up dance, the AU Jazz Ensemble, and the AU Chamber Singers.

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Title: Early Leader: The First Black Student Body President Reflects on AU in the 1960s
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: Norman Early went on to become Denver’s district attorney.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/13/2017
Content:

If you want a window into a different time at American University, peruse the Talon yearbook from the mid-1960s. The dress and feel of AU looks markedly different, filled with preppie attire and dark-rimmed glasses. There's also a noticeable dearth of non-white faces.

Norman Early, class of 1967 with a bachelor's degree in government, helped usher in a new era at AU. Early was the first African American elected student government president, according to the University Archives department. That was also just the beginning of Early's barrier-breaking career, as he'd go on to become the first black district attorney of Denver.

Early is now in his 70s with two sons and two grandchildren. He works part-time as special counsel at Rocky Mountain law firm Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley. In a recent interview, he spoke about his experiences at AU and beyond. Even better than a yearbook, he provides first-hand insights of a bygone era, while offering lessons for today.

Staying Local

Early grew up in Washington, DC, graduating from Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Northwest. He got good grades, but there wasn't much money for college. The AU track coach, Jack Linden, recruited him for the team, and Early also worked on the AU buildings and grounds crew to help pay tuition.

"We rode on the trucks, moved furniture, washed desks, that sort of thing. Most of the guys who worked there were athletes, and they were fun," he says now. "And during the course of working on the trucks, friendships were born."

Early says he met students who were members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and he considered pledging. "They informed me that that would not be possible," he recalls, "because African Americans were not accepted into that fraternity at that time. That was like cold water in your face."

Yet he found another fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau-at the time, all white-that proved a welcoming organization, and he became fast friends with his fraternity brothers.

"The track team and ZBT were tremendous support mechanisms for me while I was at American," he says.

On and Off the Field

Early was on the track team all four years, competing in relays and triple jump. He gives extra plaudits to Linden. He says Linden provided great encouragement to black athletes and fostered a racially integrated team environment. When racism reared its ugly head, Early appreciated Linden's willingness to take a stand.

During a meet at a southern college, the n-word was spoken over the loud speaker. "Jack said, 'OK, let's go.' And he just pulled us all out of the meet, and we all got into his little Chevy Nova, and we headed on back up to DC," he remembers.

Early's athleticism helped with other campus activities. There used to be friendly touch football games between first-year students and sophomores. In one game, the first-years pulled off an upset, with Early scoring two touchdowns. He says the confidence gained from those kinds of experiences led him to become sophomore class president. In 1966, he ran for student body president, and according to AU library archives, he won with 52 percent of the vote.

His time at AU coincided with radical social change, though the AU 1967 yearbook looks more 1950s than 1960s. Early saw rumblings of the counterculture-he says his predecessor as student body president was vocally anti-war, but it was tempered by AU's proximity to DC power centers. "There was activism, but there was also a recognition that the parents and friends of some of our classmates were, in fact, in government," he explains.

Going the Distance

After graduating from AU, Early earned his law degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He got a fellowship to assist underprivileged communities, which brought him to Denver. At the 1972 Democratic National Convention, Early was a Colorado delegate for Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president.

Early spent 10 years as chief deputy district attorney in Denver before being appointed district attorney in 1983. Over the years, Early has been a leading advocate of victims' rights, serving as president of the National Organization for Victim Assistance. He's received a Justice Department award for outstanding service on behalf of victims of crime, a government leadership award presented by the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, and an Ending Violence Effectively award for helping survivors of sexual abuse. Early was founder and first president of the National Black Prosecutors Association.

He notes that working as a prosecutor can be unpopular in black communities, long suspicious of law enforcement. Yet he believed he could aid more people as a prosecutor. "I saw, and still do see, victims as being the underdogs in the criminal justice system. I would have victims come into my office, and most of the victims were minorities," he says.

Early ran for mayor of Denver in 1991. Newspapers considered him the prohibitive favorite, but he lost the race to former ally Wellington Webb. Despite the disappointment, he still talks about it as a learning experience. And as he proudly points out, he got considerable campaign support from his beloved fraternity. To this day, he goes to ZBT functions and sees old friends. "When people say that I 'was' a ZBT, I'd probably say, 'Well, I am a ZBT.'"

This year, Taylor Dumpson also made AU history as the first African-American woman elected AUSG president. To his fellow trailblazer, Early recommends seeking counsel from good friends. "I always had a group of individuals who were close to me," he says. "I think that's something that's very much needed."

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Title: Becoming Lucius25: What to Know Before Attending our Crucial Conversations Event
Author: Kelly Kimball
Subtitle:
Abstract: The School of Professional & Extended Studies sits down with spoke word artist Theo Wilson and Washington Post reporter Peter Holley to talk race, politics, and the internet age.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/09/2017
Content:

On the heels of a viral Washington Post article of one man's undercover journey as a "digital White Supremacist," the American University community will have the unique opportunity to hear from Theo Wilson - the award-winning spoken word artist who adopted the online alias 'Lucius25' to go undercover - and Peter Holley, the Washington Post reporter who wrote about the experience.

In collaboration with the School of Professional & Extended Studies on the evening of November 15th, they will discuss the dynamic intersections of race and politics in the internet age, touching on the importance of conversation and community dialogue. In the meantime, both Wilson and Holley have much to say about the experiential learning behind this undercover journey.

"Most people, I think, consider the alt-right in terms of these flimsy, easily despised, caricatures. If we want to rebut their ideas, I would argue, it's worth understanding the people behind them," explains Technology Reporter Peter Holley. "I hope the audience leaves with a more comprehensive picture of the alt-right and the forces fueling their ideas."

Theo Wilson builds off of this concept, adding:

"I hope the audience gets a deeper historical understanding of present-day race, power, and politics."

Wilson goes on to say that the Washington Post article's debut has created a lightning-fast expansion of his visibility as a writer, public speaker, and overall thought leader on these topics. Indeed, this experience has enhanced the way both individuals approach their different careers. In Wilson's case, it has honed and sharpened his storytelling faculties - thereby affirming to him the importance of the kind of work he does.

The School of Professional & Extended Studies is no stranger to the benefits of on-the-ground learning. From its practical, work-based learning opportunities is a thriving collection of partnerships with more than 3,000 employers, over 150 global academic institutions, and an alumni community of over 40,000 strong. And in all aspects of this dynamic community, there exists an important pillar of diversity and inclusion in the context of today's world.

AU alumnus Peter Holley, too, sees the importance of access and inclusion in his career and in the lives of those he writes about:

"A newspaper's value is predicated on reporter's ability to find and tell stories," he says. "But reporters are best able to find stories when they understand the people and communities they're writing about. That's one of the strongest arguments for an inclusive workplace, especially when debates about gender and race are at the forefront of so many national issues. Our strength - our very currency - lies in our diversity and inclusiveness."

The dynamic intersection race and politics today is, arguably, more powerfully addressed through real-world learning. It's one thing to read about diversity and inclusion in a book; it's another thing to come face-to-face with figures who are leading these important conversations. Students at the School of Professional & Extended Studies do this through multiple professional programs, with the backdrop of DC as its learning laboratory. In less than one week, the School joins the greater American University community in opening the floor for Wilson and Holley to share their insights as part of an ongoing "Crucial Conversation" event series campus-wide.

"To prepare [for this conversation], I'd urge people to come with an open mind, a willingness to listen and suggestions about how to move the conversation surrounding race forward in a substantive fashion," says Holley.

Wilson adds to this, saying he hopes that November 15th attendees will "feel empowered by what's happening, and [will acquire] the tools to make change in their immediate environment."

The School proudly joins the American University community in championing conversations that lead to the understanding of a diverse communities and stories.

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To RSVP to this event, visit: http://www.american.edu/spexs/events/becoming-lucius25.cfm

Whether it be through its accredited degrees and certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for high school and undergraduates and postgraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world-class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. Learn more about how the programs at SPExS can help students enhance practical skillsets at critical junctures in their careers at http://www.american.edu/spexs/.

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Title: To Learn the Art of Political Lobbying, this Alumnus has Words of Advice
Author: Kelly Kimball
Subtitle:
Abstract: Washington Semester Program alumnus, Gil Ruiz, credits his Sustainable Development Professor, Dr. Heather Heckel, and his experience in DC overall as a huge boost to his career preparedness. Read his story!
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/08/2017
Content:

When asked what young leaders can do right now to contribute to environmental sustainability initiatives, Legislative Correspondent for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Gil Ruiz says:

"We can do so much - especially here in this city. There's a place and a role for everybody, and we can certainly make the most of it. I did it, and if I can do it then there's thousands of other people out there who can do it too."

Ruiz firmly believes that Washington D.C. has a lot to offer budding changemakers, so long as they believe in the convictions of their dreams.

"The biggest thing needed from organizations today is your time and support. I was shocked when I moved to DC and saw how much one can do just by doing it!"

This was just one bit of advice during an enlightening discussion called "Effective Political Lobbying for the Environment" at AU's Kay Spiritual Life Center yesterday evening. Guests got a sneak peak into the world of environment advocacy, thanks to the Fall Semester Environmental Speaker Series hosted in part by the School of Professional & Extended Studies and American University Sustainability. For those who missed it, among the speakers was Washington Semester Program (WSP) alumnus, current Hill staffer, and Board of Directors member for Engage Globally - Gil Ruiz.

Since participating in Professor Heather Heckel's Sustainable Development Seminar in 2015, Ruiz has gone on to develop a strong voice in the realm of environmental policy. As a member of Senator Gillibrand's political staff, Gil helps address issues involving the environment, energy, and social security by communicating the Senator's platform to constituents and interest groups. Initially, Ruiz was set on attending medical school, had it not been for his resonating experience living, learning, and interning in the nation's capitol. It was in the middle of his semester in DC that he realized he needed to uproot his path to seek out a career in public service.

"It was the best decision of my life," he explains. "What you're getting is a crash course in the way that Washington DC works. When I saw how things operated here by the halfway point of the program, it drew me in because there was no way I could have been able to understand this if I was simply reading about it back at [my college town in] Texas or elsewhere."

Gil Ruiz with fellow students in 2015, standing outside the entrance to the Newseum While participating in the program, Ruiz interned at AARP as a researcher for The Journal and a contributor for various aging-centered public health projects between AARP and the World Health Organization. He realized a calling in public service after attending just one of Dr. Heather Heckel's Sustainable Development class. Dr. Heckel's semester-long seminar focused on the Sustainable Development goals set by the United Nations and diligently addressed how to achieve these goals through civic engagement and political action.

"Heather had identified so many world problems that had never even crossed my mind," explains Ruiz. "It was almost exactly what I was looking for as far as purpose-finding and soul-searching. I had finally identified that these were the things I wanted to talk about and do every day. I was enthralled with a feeling cannot fully describe."

Soon after, according to Ruiz, "the rest is history."

"Not only did I figure out what I cared about at a really critical point in my life, but I figured out how best to care about it," he says. "[I figured out] how to translate it into something that works for me in my career, in my personal life, and in [my overall sense of] happiness. That was big."

Whether one has a clear understanding of their career path or is open-minded to the possibilities ahead, Washington Semester Program alumni like Gil Ruiz speak highly of the impact that the program's experiential learning ethic provides.

And in regards to political lobbying, "it's one of the few industries where you have to get in there and be present and be part of it," explains Ruiz. "That's what [the Washington Semester Program] does; it opens the doors of leading institutions, and you hear from guest speakers who do their job everyday. There's no replacement for that. [This program] really makes the most of it."

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To learn more about the Fall Environmental Speaker Series, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/GreenAU/events/?ref=page_internal

Whether it be through its accredited certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for undergraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world-class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. To learn more about how the alumni of the School of Professional & Extended Studies are empowering changemakers throughout Washington DC and beyond, visit http://www.american.edu/spexs/news/index.cfm

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Title: Alumna propagates social entrepreneurship through consultation and education
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alessandra Clará, SIS/MA ’16, explains how she and classmates in the MA in Social Enterprise program co-founded Strategic Good after graduation to spread the concept of social entrepreneurship to organizations around the world.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/07/2017
Content:

What started as an MA in Social Enterprise practicum project at the School of International Service (SIS) evolved into Strategic Good, a Washington, DC-based social enterprise that helps people and organizations combine their strategic mindsets with good, impact-driven business models through consulting and educational experiences.

As a result of strong relationships formed while a student, Alessandra Clará, SIS/MA ’16, graduated and founded Strategic Good along with classmates Nick Boedicker, SIS/MA ’14; Andreas Vailakis, SIS/MA ’15; and Michael Cobb, SIS/MA ’15.

“I knew I wanted to work on helping people design business models that focus on the triple bottom line: people, profit, and plan,” she said. “I wanted to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship to as many people as possible.”

The goal of social entrepreneurship is to solve a cultural, social, or environmental challenge through business and entrepreneurship. The impact of the business is an equal priority to financial stability.

Strategic Good consults with organizations on developing business models to combine social impact and financial stability. The organization also teaches social entrepreneurship, innovation, and human-centered design (or design thinking) through workshops, classes, and curricula design.

“We've facilitated classes and workshops at Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, and Dartmouth Universities and have worked with organizations like Hanes, Kate Spade & Co., LearnServe International, and United Way,” Clará said. When desgining these classes and curricula, Clará and the team work out of the Impact Hub DC, a community-driven co-working space in the nation’s capital.

Clará’s career in social enterprise also offers exciting travel opportunities: “This summer, I taught a three-week social entrepreneurship program at Stanford University, led a workshop on design thinking for innovation in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica in collaboration with INCAE Business School, and held another workshop for the incoming MBA class at Dartmouth's Tuck Business School,” Clará explained.

Professor Robert Tomasko, director of the MA in Social Enterprise program, explained the value of social enterprise today: “Social enterprise is demonstrating itself as an alternative to traditional capitalism, which breeds inequality. Social entrepreneurship is thriving, as made evident by the increase in funds made available to social enterprises via the growth of impact investing, venture philanthropy, and social impact bonds.”

Clará credits being born and raised in El Salvador as igniting her personal passion to make the world a better place through social change. Growing up, she witnessed social inequities. She believes when people are given the opportunity to complete an education and experience financial stability, social inequities will ultimately decrease.

Looking back, Clará is grateful for the community that she found as a student and that she continues to engage with as an alumna: “The most valuable part of my SIS experience was the unique opportunity to be part of a network of people who truly care about creating an impact in the world. The Social Enterprise program allowed me to meet individuals who aligned their work with their passion to make a difference.”

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Title: Zizos Builds on Success with Launch of New Company
Author:
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Abstract: An American University alumna is launching a new Communications training software company in 2018.
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 11/07/2017
Content:

American University (AU) alumna Chryssa Zizos, (SOC/ MA ’95), is launching a new company in 2018 leveraging communicative training software for entry-level employees and mid-level managers.

Zizos, who has established entrepreneurial success as Live Wire Media Relations LLC founder, President and CEO, will split her time between Live Wire and a new venture starting in January 2018. Zizos, who also teaches Public Speaking at American University School of Communication, is a Washington Business Journal Women Who Mean Business alum and past 40 Under 40 honoree.

Her new company’s product is designed for entry-level employees and mid-level managers, whereas Live Wire's media training and other offerings are built more for executives. The software will use artificial intelligence and algorithms to tailor communications training to each user, provide real-time feedback and report data to employers.

LiveWire, a 20-year-old agency that works with Fortune 500 companies and names like The Carlyle Group and Bechtel, is expanding into digital and social media and will bring on WJLA Virginia Bureau Chief Jeff Goldberg as a vice president. SOC Public Communication Director Pallavi Kumar sat down to learn more about Zizos’ next move.

PK: Tell us why you are starting this new company?

CZ: As the workforce becomes more competitive and businesses prioritize professional development, demand for communicative training has grown exponentially. The landscape is shifting, and we must constantly reinvent ourselves as a firm. Our training has always been one of Live Wire’s most successful services, and we’re adjusting to make it more accessible to meet those market demands.

PK: How will this software revolutionize communication management?

CZ: This is training we typically provide to C-level executives and thought leaders at the forefront of their respective industries, but the foundation and principles of the programs are universally applicable. Entry-level employees, mid-level managers and their companies all stand to benefit from learning techniques that improve communicative abilities. Communication management is the keystone of professional development, and this training will strengthen employees, their companies and the workforce as a whole.

PK: You are using artificial intelligence and algorithms to customize the training - how did you research these technologies and learn how to apply them?

CZ: I’ve become a student of emerging technologies over the past year. The increasing role of technology in our society and industry is inevitable, and an understanding of that innovation is essential to leveraging its capabilities. We’re working with firms that have practical experience with these technologies, and utilizing their expertise to develop a product that is engaging, responds to users and facilitates rapid results.

PK: Between Live Wire Marisa Relations, this new firm and teaching public speaking, how do find the time to manage all these aspects of your life?

CZ: Don’t forget my two kids! Live Wire will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in January, and is humming under the careful watch of my fantastic team – which now includes former WJLA Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Jeff Goldberg. Sharing my experiences with students and developing their communicative skills has always been a passion of mine. When you’re passionate about things – be it a business, product or profession – it truly doesn’t ever feel like work.

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Title: Regional cooperation: the key to peace and prosperity
Author: Sarah Quain
Subtitle:
Abstract: International cooperation and the provision of public goods are essential to the world’s prosperity, contends 21st Century Cooperation, a new book featuring several SIS contributors.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/07/2017
Content:

The future of peace and prosperity around the world depends on cooperation between nations. This idea forms the basis of 21st Century Cooperation: Regional Public Goods, Global Governance, and Sustainable Development, a new book co-edited by SIS Dean Emeritus Louis Goodman and Antoni Estevadeordal of the Inter-American Development Bank. The book also features chapters by several SIS contributors: Professor Amitav Acharya, Professor Michelle Egan, Professor Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Tom Long, SIS/PhD ’14, and Teng Liu, SIS/MA ’15.

"The purpose of this book is to put a focus on cooperation and how the world can organize itself to enhance peace and prosperity," said Goodman. Such cooperation attempts to "balance discussions based on hegemonic stability theory," or the idea that world stability depends exclusively on a powerful, dominant nation like the US.

The book focuses on regional public goods (RPGs) as a cornerstone of regional cooperation. RPGs are goods and services created within and available to anyone in a region, which Goodman defines as a set of neighboring countries with formal agreements to cooperate with each other. Goodman notes that use of RPGs by individual people or countries does not diminish the RPGs themselves. For example, trade systems and defense systems can be considered public goods. Each chapter of the text is devoted to the history of cooperation and provision of RPGs within different world regions, including the European Union and ASEAN.

21st Century Cooperation is the first part of a larger research project examining what Goodman calls "the most important process that's going on in international relations: cooperation." As part of this larger project, Goodman and his co-editor are also creating a database of all international treaties signed since 1945. Once completed, the comprehensive archive will be the first of its kind available as public resource.

"The goal of the project overall is to create knowledge about cooperation that can enhance scholarship in international relations and create information useful for policymakers trying to achieve greater stability, peace, and prosperity," said Goodman.

Opening borders in Latin America

Professor Johanna Mendelson Forman's chapter, entitled "Open borders: A regional public good," looks at the successes, constraints, and possibilities of open borders in Latin America. Why consider open borders RPGs? Mendelson Forman described open borders between countries as public goods because of their importance for cultural exchange, trade, infrastructure, and movement of populations.

"Latin America already provides a number of regional public goods to its residents," said Mendelson Forman. "The nuclear-free zone that runs from Mexico to Patagonia, for example, means that Latin Americans don't worry about nuclear attacks from neighboring countries. Various trade agreements, like the free trade zones in Paraguay and Panama, encourage cross-state commerce."

In practice, though not in law, Latin America has had porous borders between countries for many years. The result is that many countries lack formal agreements on how to handle their de facto open borders at the same time that they face increased criminality and unexpected flow of migrants from Haiti, the Middle East, and Africa.

Mendelson Forman noted that Brazil had previously led talks about legally opening borders in Latin America using a framework similar to the Schengen Area in Europe, which allows free movement of people and goods between 26 countries. "But after Brexit, the 2015 refugee crisis, and the terrorist attacks that plagued Europe, the concept of openness has been greatly diminished and the issue of open borders dropped off the radar screen," she said.

Acknowledging the "many legitimate challenges" that face open borders, including harmonizing laws between countries and addressing terrorism and drug trafficking, Mendelson Forman said that Latin America "needs to continue the discussion on open borders in order to use its social capital in a positive way."

Mendelson Forman contends that an open Latin American is still a concept worth actively pursuing. As for moving forward, she suggested that nations go back to the negotiation table: "They should look back and revive their interest in the Schengen model from Europe, encourage cooperation among police forces, harmonize trans-border migration of human capital, and create consistent customs regimes."

The EU's insiders and outsiders

Professor Michelle Egan writes about the provision of RPGs within the European Union in her chapter, "European regional public goods: insiders and outsiders."

An example of regional integration and commitment to regional public goods, the European Union promotes two often contending values among its member state, according to Egan. "The first is economic integration, competitiveness, and market access. The other is solidarity and provision of public goods to mitigate the effects of the market, providing both a safety net and a way to promote economic development and growth."

While those outside of the EU often focus on it as a world actor, "we tend to forget just how many regional public goods it provides internally within the EU," said Egan. "The 28 member states have various different levels of economic development, infrastructure, water quality, and a whole range of other public goods. The EU attempts to raise all boats and ensure that issues like trans-boundary pollution or health standards reach a certain level in those states."

Egan outlined three elements central to providing public goods, all of which the EU does for its member states: the allocation, regulation, and distribution/redistribution of resources and activities.

The EU uses a variegated model for providing public goods, meaning that certain states or localities, rather than the entire EU region, may receive specific benefits. "Regional public goods can be felt differently in different states and have unintended consequences-negative or positive," said Egan.

The ensuing disparities risk creating "insiders and outsiders" even within the EU, a possibility revealed through the 2009 Eurozone crisis and the ongoing refugee crisis. "The veneer of solidarity, which is central to the provision of public goods, had been under strain. It's revealed the limits of collective action," said Egan.

Far from pessimistic about the future of and importance of regional public goods, Egan said 21st Century Cooperation is particularly important at this moment because "we're in a period of economic retrenchment, and the US has an administration that is withdrawing from many global public goods efforts, whether it's climate change or UNESCO."


21st Century Cooperation: Regional Public Goods, Global Governance, and Sustainable Development is available to download for free through Open Access.

Join Goodman, Acharya, Egan, and Mendelson Forman for a book launch and discussion with additional guests on November 30 at 5:00 p.m. in SIS Founders Room. RVSP here.

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Title: Five takeaways from Sen. Whitehouse’s environmental policy discussion
Author: Sarah Quain
Subtitle:
Abstract: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said a US “failure to lead on climate change” would reverse its power of example and standing as an exceptional nation during the annual Ignatius Lecture on the Environment on November 2.
Topic: International
Publication Date: 11/06/2017
Content:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivered the third annual Nancy Weiser Ignatius Lecture on the Environment on November 2. As a member of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Whitehouse plays a key role in crafting policies addressing climate change and environmental protection.

Whitehouse spoke about the need for the United States to lead the world in addressing climate change, not only because of humanitarian concerns, but also because of major national security risks. He identified three major security risks created or intensified by climate change: the economic toll on the poor who rely on farms and fisheries, the radicalization of populations dislocated from their homes, and global challenges to market capitalism and democratic government.

We've compiled the top five takeaways from Whitehouse's talk and audience Q&A session that followed:

America's influence in the world is at risk if it fails to act on climate change.

"The world's grudging acknowledgement of our exceptional nature confers on America a soft power that allows us influence without gunpoint and a power of example that draws people to our country, our ideals, and our mode of government. These are tidal forces that have flooded in our favor for generations and helped make America the essential nation. Climate change-or more exactly, an American failure to lead on climate change-could well reverse that tide."

The time for debating the basic science of climate change is past.

"The atmosphere is warming, carbon dioxide concentrations within the atmosphere are at their highest point in human history, ice is melting, droughts are worsening, and seas are warming, rising, and acidifying. We are past theory and well into measurement on those changes."

The security risks caused by climate change will disproportionately impact the world's poorest and most vulnerable.

"This security risk will first hurt farming communities, coastal communities, fishing communities, and those most vulnerable to wildfires and extreme weather. Of course, the poorer you are, the more at hazard you are."

"The poorest, those who live closest to the land and lead subsistence lives, will suffer most the brunt of the coming change. We will be better insulated at the top of the economic pile. Upper income societies will pay a greater share of their wealth for food; marginal societies will go without. Their struggles for water, farmland, and fisheries will be desperate."

"Scarcity of resources leads to conflicts and confrontations. Storms, fires, and floods can make the suffering acute. People who are hungry or dislocated or torn from their roots can become desperate and can become radicalized and violent. That is why the Department of Defense has for many years called climate change a 'catalyst of conflict.'"

Failure to act on climate change will endanger the very underpinnings of American society by projecting to the world that capitalism and democracy have no value when it comes to saving the planet.

"[A third order of security risk] is damage to the keystone institutions of our present world order: market capitalism and democratic government."

"If you believe that the world needs America, if you believe that America is to be the essential and exceptional nation, then getting climate right matters. Failure will make a powerful argument against our democratic experiment. A world forever changed by carbon pollution in ways America foresaw but denied may not believe it has much need for what else America has to offer."

"America has generated the most wealth in the carbon economy. America has been the most profligate emitter of carbon. And America is the most essential nation upon which the world counts for leadership. America will not be able to avoid ownership of this mess."

The fossil fuel industry is fighting against solutions, and Congress has so far been unable or unwilling to fight back.

"The failure to act is bad enough. Worse is the reason why. Fossil fuel producers who are knowingly causing this harm are also aggressively fighting political solutions to the problem. They are fighting with professionally administered misinformation: a massive propaganda effort churning at full steam to deny the carbon emissions problem."

"In Congress, we have shown ourselves unable to resist [the fossil fuel] industry, despite knowing it to be deeply burdened with obvious and enormous conflicts of interest. And despite clear and repeated warnings from our own national security experts."

"When you talk to [Republicans in the Senate] about climate change, it's like talking to prisoners about escape. They'd like to go there, but they look around first to see who's listening; they look up at the guard towers that Citizens United and the fossil fuel industry have been able to build to create a political kill zone. And on the other side of the kill zone, they look at the getaway car, and we all agree on the getaway car."

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