Graduate appointed Executive Director of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 29, 2016

An accomplished graduate of Southern Methodist University, Luisa Del Rosal, is taking on new ventures as the Executive Director of the Tower Center for Political Studies. She has also been named the executive director of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, a division of Dedman College.

As the first female, Hispanic executive director for the Tower Center, she hopes to raise awareness against cultural stereotypes and provide an inviting platform for the SMU community and the public to discuss difficult topics.

“I am excited and ready for the challenge but I also feel a great deal of responsibility to prove that women can do this, and that we can support each other in the process,” said Del Rosal, who was named to both positions on Aug. 10.

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Del Rosal, 30, has a dynamic cultural background that she said influenced her time at SMU. Having an SMU bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology and an SMU master’s degree in higher education policy and leadership prepared her for her new position.

Bora Laci, Program Coordinator of the Tower Center, began working there in February. She thinks that Del Rosal will “take both centers to a whole new level with her skills and past experiences.”

Del Rosal has held several positions at SMU, including the Cox School of Business, and has devoted her time to nonprofit organizations around the Dallas area. While the purpose of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs among undergraduates, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center focuses on the economic relationship between Texas, the U.S. and Mexico.

“I praise Mission for their vision to create this action-oriented policy center at SMU and for being a visionary for businesses to lead the way,” said Del Rosal.

Del Rosal’s journey to SMU as an undergraduate came by taking a “total leap of faith,” as her father convinced her to look into the programs offered.

“We came to visit SMU one hot July afternoon and fell in love with it,” Del Rosal said of her visit to the campus in 2004. “I never thought that I would attend school in the U.S. but the opportunity presented itself and I never looked back.”

Coming from a conservative, Hispanic family, Del Rosal said she faced many challenges as a 17 year old in the United States.

“Coming to SMU was a culture shock. What made the transition better for me was the amazing faculty at SMU,” said Del Rosal. “I was the only person in my family living outside of Mexico and I was breaking the paradigms of family life by making this decision.”

During her time at SMU, Del Rosal worked as a diversity recruiter, helping students discover career opportunities outside of the stereotypes they carried with them.

“Some students only thought that success was defined as being a lawyer or doctor. To be able to break some of those barriers as a young Hispanic female is empowering,” she said.

In her previous position at the Cox School of Business, Del Rosal acquired skills necessary to carry out oversight of new global partners for the Latino Leadership Initiative as the Director of Strategy and International Affairs.

“There is a way that business can lead the way in hard conversations about race and ethnicity as well as how public policies can be changed by world business,” Del Rosal said.

She has been a positive light for those that work closely with her even in her prior position as the Director of Program and External Affairs of the Tower Center.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work for her for three years now and she has been a valuable mentor to me. She brings a lot of energy and she has a lot of ideas on expanding the Center and its reach,” said Karly Hanson, Communication Coordinator at the Tower Center. READ MORE

Income up, poverty down: Texas exceeding U.S. in key economic numbers

Dallas News

Originally Posted: September 15, 2016

Texas rode the national wave of rising incomes and decreased poverty last year — a combination economists and demographers found surprising, given turbulence in the state’s energy industry.

“It’s a great report and it’s great for us,” said Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve. “You don’t see any impact from the oil bust.”

Experts said the Lone Star state didn’t merely keep pace with the rest of the country; it exceeded national averages in key economic measures included in new Census Bureau data released Thursday.

For the first time since 2009, the national median household income grew significantly, jumping 3.8 percent from $53,713 in 2014 to $55,775 in 2015. The phenomenon spanned racial categories and age groups.

Economists celebrated that boost as a sign that one of the most stubborn remnants of the recession — stagnant wages — is finally dissipating.

In Texas, though, the number was a full percentage point higher. Here, median household income jumped 4.8 percent, from $53,105 in 2014 to $55,653 last year.

Texas’ percentage of residents living in poverty also dropped faster than the nation’s overall, by 1.3 percentage points, compared with the national rate dropping 0.8 percentage points. READ MORE

Benefactors behind two Tower Center programs honored by D CEO Magazine with Latino Business Awards.

SMU News and D CEO Magazine

Originally Posted: September 6, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s Latino Leadership Initiative in the Cox School of Business, as well as the benefactors behind two other SMU programs in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, have been honored by D CEO Magazine with Latino Business Awards.

Launched in November 2013, the SMU Cox Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) distinguishes SMU as the only university working across the entire Latino talent pipeline for corporate America.  The initiative is designed to help meet the nation’s growing need for corporate leaders as national demographics evolve through management and organizational development, research into Latino corporate workplace retention and community outreach.

D CEO named the Latino Leadership Initiative its “Outstanding Latino Nonprofit” for 2016.

Nearly a year ago, SMU announced it strategic academic partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development  (Latino CLD), founded by SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor ’93.  The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program was formed to identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino concerns such as educational and economic opportunities, voting rights and immigration reform, and the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed positions.

D CEO named Baldor its “Latino Advocate” for 2016, noting his organization’s contribution forming the Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Program.

Also in September 2015, SMU’s Tower Center launched an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.  Made possible by a gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation headquartered in Dallas, the program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens.

D CEO named GRUMA Corp., led by CEO Juan González Moreno, as its “Outstanding Latino Business: Large,” specifically noting the company’s contribution to form the SMU Texas-Mexico Center.

“We are delighted that the Cox School’s Latino Leadership Institute, as well as the forward-thinking benefactors behind our newest Tower Center programs, are being recognized,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “Taking advantage of geography, demographics and the business leadership that exists in Dallas, SMU is determined to remain at the hub of programs that tap the strength of our growing Latino population and our economic partnership with Mexico.”  READ MORE


Q&A | A Tower Scholar’s life in Uganda

Tower Center Blog

Originally Posted: August 30, 2016

The Tower Center sat down with Tower Scholar Thomas Schmedding, class of 2017, to talk about his time studying abroad and interning in Kampala, Uganda.

Tower Scholars PortraitsDescribe your life in Uganda. 

Life in a developing country is both fascinating and physically/mentally demanding every day. My time in Uganda was full of unexpected opportunities and some of the most memorable experiences of my life. Throughout my four months in Uganda, I saw circumstances I couldn’t have possibly imagined: extreme poverty, inequitable government healthcare and education institutions, and broken social contracts, among others. Despite these challenges though, a sense of hope and optimism always filled the air. The Ugandans I ran into every day couldn’t have been more grateful for their humble circumstances and they were always full of happiness. Waking up every morning, I was honored to be welcomed into such a warm-spirited community.

What was a typical day like for you?

I split my time between a homestay and an apartment. My homestay family was hardworking, supportive, and incredibly caring. In fact, I’ve never met a group of people that would devote so much time to making sure others felt welcomed. They helped me navigate Kampala’s unorganized “taxi” system (A “taxi” in East Africa is 15 people crammed in a conversion van with no organized route), and they taught me how to negotiate in one of Uganda’s 50 local languages at the market.

For the first two months, I took courses on development, Ugandan culture, and research methods through the School for International Training (SIT) with three other American students. I followed this with an internship at a digital health organization dedicated to alleviating Uganda’s doctor-to-patient ratio of about 1:25,000. These two opportunities were complementary in terms of providing experience navigating Uganda’s diverse culture. READ MORE

Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center name new executive director, Luisa Del Rosal

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 10, 2016

Luisa-Del-RosalThe Tower Center for Political Studies and the recently announced Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center found a new executive director in a familiar face at SMU – Luisa Del Rosal, currently the director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of Business’ Latino Leadership Initiative.

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” Del Rosal says. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

Del Rosal will assume her new leadership role at the helm of the two centers on Aug. 10.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

In this new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, Dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomaticskill setthat will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates.

Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center is an action-oriented, research policy center looking to understand and explore the dynamic political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the following key areas of research and policy: border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Prior to working for the Cox School, Luisa was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center. READ MORE

Jeffrey Kahn: At SMU visit, Trump’s foreign policy adviser was a modern-day Joe McCarthy

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 25, 2016

Tower Center Fellow Jeffrey Kahn wrote an opinion piece for the Dallas Morning News July 25. Kahn teaches and writes about American constitutional law, Russian law, human rights, and counterterrorism in SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

By Jeffrey Kahn
SMU law professor

Sen. Joe McCarthy built his name, and ruined it, by destroying the reputations of others. His M.O. was to insinuate guilt by linking his victims to people he had already brought down.

I had the misfortune to hear a practitioner of the new McCarthyism when Joseph Schmitz — foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — spoke at Southern Methodist University a year before Trump tapped him for his current position.

The encounter left me chilled. I had witnessed a ghost from McCarthy’s staff.

Law students who organized Schmitz’s talk had asked me to be the responding speaker for an event addressing the “impact of the communist worldview and the current state of affairs geopolitically with the west.”

In planning the match-up, I doubt the students looked past Schmitz’s brightest credential: a stint as inspector general at the U.S. Department of Defense that ended with his resignation under mounting criticism led by Sen. Charles Grassley.

My scholarship, focused on American and Russian law, likely explained my invitation. Schmitz, a student organizer said, could offer “an insider’s opinions” though also conceding, “this is a new topic area of presentation for him.”

Despite my unfamiliarity with Schmitz, and a seemingly muddled event taking shape, I agreed to participate. The clash of ideas, after all, is the heart of a university.

I was stunned by what I heard.

Early in his rambling presentation, Schmitz held up a book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis — The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, that would form the basis of his attack on President Obama. Soon, another book was raised: Marx and Satan. The poet Langston Hughes came in for smearing, his communist credentials duly noted. At one point, Schmitz declared that President Barack Obama was the second-most-revered person in China (after Mao, apparently).

Schmitz revealed himself an unrepentant McCarthyite. And not just in his obvious, if inarticulate, hatred of communism. His methods were similar, too. Recollecting his remarks, a single startling feature shines through. Schmitz never attacked a single specific policy advanced by Obama, nor a single presidential decision, action or statement. Only the president’s connections to other people, often in the distant past, were his targets.

Had we time-warped to the Red Scare of the 1950s? I had never seen anyone paint with as broad a brush or with as careless a hand.

When my turn came, I took time to describe the dangerous history we had just seen re-enacted. I asked the students to examine actual ideas – not accept smears of people with implied associations. And as for learning more about Langston Hughes, I suggested a good start would be to read some of his poetry (which Schmitz’s talk gave no evidence that he had).

Schmitz was all about insinuation and dark connections. He had little time for hard thinking, just cheap shots — a quality he evidently shares with his current boss. Trump has smeared Muslims and Mexicans. He has attacked Sen. John McCain and a federal judge he called a hater and falsely labeled foreign.

Another Trump adviser, channeling McCarthy, claimed Hillary Clinton’s State Department was “permeated at the highest levels” by Saudi spies and disloyal Americans, and attacked one of Clinton’s aides with factless, fear-drenched defamation. Aspirants to Trump’s entourage shout for return of the House Un-American Affairs Committee.

I never discuss my personal politics with students. It gets in the way of prying open difficult legal puzzles and evaluating arguments. I keep my conclusions out of view so that students can engage each other in an open forum.

But at this turning point for our country, I want to be on record about where I stand. And who I stand against.

I’m not surprised Trump would turn to a person like Schmitz, or that Schmitz would be attracted to Trump’s obscene cult of personality.

What foreign policy advice will Schmitz whisper into Trump’s ear? I shudder to think what he might do in such a position of power.

report he co-authored declared, “The United States has been infiltrated and deeply influenced by an enemy within that is openly determined to replace the U.S. Constitution with shariah.”

But for the very last word, Joe McCarthy could have penned that himself.

# # #


Did Trump win GOP nod because of the way he talks?

Christian Science Monitor

Originally Posted: July 20, 2016

Cleveland — Suddenly Donald Trump’s face loomed over the delegates, tanned, jaw set, and a story high.

From the giant video screen on the Republican National Convention stage Mr. Trump thanked everyone for nominating him as the GOP presidential pick. The film – shown Tuesday in Cleveland after the official roll call vote – was short. Parts were clearly ad-libbed. When Trump began to speak, his sentences were looping and repetitive.

“The party seal, I mean, what we did, getting the party’s nomination, I’ll never forget it. It’s something I will never, ever forget,” he said. . .

Here’s a thought sparked by watching this presentation and its rapturous response: It’s not just the border proposal or the possible Muslim ban. Donald Trump’s extraordinary victory in the Republican presidential primaries was due in part to the way he communicates. His words, his gestures, his expressions, his emphasis – all are uniquely suited to the pace and attention span of our social-media saturated age. . .

“Trump is brilliant in manipulating – and I mean ‘manipulating’ as a positive – the new media, the social media of the day,” says Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “There is no discussion on Twitter. The way you win an argument on Twitter is, you say it again, and you say it in capital letters.” READ MORE

Tower Center Chair Joshua Rovner discusses U.S. strategy and the Middle East in new book

Georgetown University Press

Originally Posted: July 26, 2016

Crude Strategy
Rethinking the US Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil
Charles L. Glaser and Rosemary A. Kelanic, Editors

Should the United States ask its military to guarantee the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf? If the US security commitment is in fact strategically sound, what posture should the military adopt to protect Persian Gulf oil?

Charles L. Glaser and Rosemary A. Kelanic present a collection of new essays from a multidisciplinary team of political scientists, historians, and economists that provide answers to these questions. Contributors delve into a range of vital economic and security issues: the economic costs of a petroleum supply disruption, whether or not an American withdrawal increases the chances of oil-related turmoil, the internal stability of Saudi Arabia, budgetary costs of the forward deployment of US forces, and the possibility of blunting the effects of disruptions with investment in alternative energy resources. The result is a series of bold arguments toward a much-needed revision of US policy toward the Persian Gulf during an era of profound change in oil markets and the balance of power in the Middle East. READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón’s research featured in the Dallas Morning News


Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 20, 2016

Tower Center Associate Edward T. Rincón was featured in the Dallas Morning News discussing his research company’s recent study about the affects of the growing Latino population in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón finds Latino Growth will lead to Market Disruption in Dallas-Fort Worth

PR Web

Originally Posted: July 13, 2016

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón, president of the research company Rincón & Associates LLC, published his recent findings in a press release detailing how Latino growth in Dallas- Fort Worth will disrupt several consumer markets including legal services and healthcare. READ MORE