Jasiel Lopez/Contributing Writer
The University will be hosting its first State of The World: Global Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy event, featuring presidents of think tanks, foreign policy makers, journalists and sitting U.S. senators to discuss some of the most critical issues in the world today.
The event “State of the World 2018: Global Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy” will be hosted by the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs on Friday, Jan. 19 at the Graham Center Ballrooms from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The topics included in the panel discussions are U.S. foreign policy, America’s standing in the world, authoritarian challenges from Russia and China, the Middle East and the fight against terrorism, policy toward Cuba and Venezuela, and the future of democracy and human rights, according to the event page.
David Kramer, a SIPA Senior Fellow who took a leading role in organizing the event, said that this a “first” for FIU and compared the event to other conferences such as the German Marshall Funds’ Brussels Forum.
“We really want to put FIU on the map, for FIU to be a place where these type of discussions can be had,” Kramer said.
The panel discussions will be an opportunity to examine complex issues through analysis, debate and finding solutions and will take an “all of the above” approach when discussing different subjects, according to Kramer.
“It’s kind of hard to find solutions without analyzing them,” he said.
Some of the panel discussions will be moderated by FIU’s own faculty. Kramer and Martin Palous, another SIPA senior fellow, will each moderate a panel. FIU’s Cuban Research Institute Director Francisco Mora will also moderate the discussion on Cuba and Venezuela.
Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson will also be part of the forum. They will speak during the lunch conversation focused around U.S. policy toward Cuba, Venezuela and democracy.
Kramer also encourages students to participate in each panel discussion during the Q&A sessions and provide feedback based on their experience in this forum.
Among those attending will be Camila Neira, a senior double-majoring in sociology and women’s and gender studies. Neira considers this forum to be an opportunity to gauge FIU’s values as a university.
“If the school is hosting it, it has to go in some way with its values. It’s important for me to see where the school stands based on this information,” said Neira.
Neira, however, is concerned that the forum will be centered on U.S. interests, while ignoring FIU’s commitment to a “global perspective.”
“The topics seem very much about U.S. politics. I want to see what it is that they’re going to be talking about, if it’s actually going to be global, if they’re going to bring people from other places and allow different perspectives not just from a U.S. standpoint but from other countries’ standpoint,” Neira said.
Kramer agrees that judging this forum as U.S. Centric is a “fair characterization,” but that it will not only be about the U.S.
“Other things will be discussed and other topics will be touched upon,” he said. “ [But] it’s very difficult to pack everything into one forum.”
Among the global issues missing from the forum schedule are climate change and inequality. However, Kramer assures that these topics are too big to ignore.
““Climate change will definitely come up throughout. Inequality will also come up a lot when we discuss Cuba,” he said.
Nayeli Gonzalez, a senior majoring in international relations, believes that these types of forums are valuable to the university.
“It’s extremely important to discuss the current state of the U.S. and how the [Donald] Trump administration is affecting relations with other countries,” Gonzalez said.
Miami politics, according to Gonzalez, could also benefit from viewing issues on a global scale because of how “closed minded” it tends to be towards “progressive foreign policy.”
The State of The World 2018 was organized the Steven J. Green School in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington DC, and The American Interest, a magazine focused on foreign policy.
The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP here.
Featured Image retrieved from Flickr.