Tower Center Forum: Populism in Europe and Germany

Event Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Great Hall, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall

Dr. Sergey Lagodinsky is currently Head of the EU/North America Department of the Heinrich Böll Foundation based in Berlin. He is an attorney and author, also working as consultant on strategy and leadership. Sergey’s areas of expertise include transatlantic relations, international and constitutional law as well law and politics of diversity and integration. He is a Member of the Assembly of Representatives of the Jewish Community of Berlin and was a founding chairman of the Jewish Working Group in the Social Democratic Party in Germany (SPD). He ran for the German Bundestag for the German Green Party in 2013.

Sergey is a regular guest and contributor to major German and international media outlets. He has appeared among others on Deutschlandfunk, DeutschlandradioKultur, the BBC World Service, Radio Liberty and various other radio stations. For many years he was a regular guest on Deutsche Welle TV and a political host and commentator on the global Russian channel RTVi. His commentaries have been published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, ZEIT, Handelsblatt, taz and Tagesspiegel, among others. His recent book Contexts of Antisemitism (Metropol Publishing, 2014) explores the relationship between freedom of speech and protection against anti-Semitism in German and international law. Sergey holds a PhD degree in law from the Berlin’s Humboldt University, a law degree from the University of Göttingen and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. From 2008-2009, he was a fellow with the stiftung neue verantwortung in Berlin and in 2010 – a Yale World Fellow in residence at Yale University in New Haven. READ MORE

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Pia Orrenius, Tower Center, Immigration is good for the economy

Texas Standard

Originally Posted: April 25, 2016

It’s hard to talk about the issue of immigration without getting mired into the politics or the rhetoric of the hour. But hard data is often missing from the conversation. Is there a way to understand immigration through the lens of economic data? Perhaps there is.
Pia Orrenius is the Vice President and Senior Economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, and a fellow at the John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. She says there’s no need for alarm, despite the fearmongering – immigration is actually good for the economy.

“We know that when immigrants come into the economy, there’s a lot of good effects that follow from that,” Orrenius says. “It’s a larger labor supply, which means that the economy produces more output.”
That benefit is passed on to consumers, who see cheaper goods and services. READ MORE

Dedman College student Diana Cates shares her inspirational story

Sophomore Diana Cates delivered a heartfelt speech about her road to SMU and desire to serve. She was featured during SMU’s Campaign Finale and Founders’ Day Weekend Celebration.

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James Hollifield, Political Science, Making Sense of the European Migration Crisis

SMU Political Science Professor James Hollifield, director of the Tower Center for Political Studies and a public policy fellow at the Wilson Center, talks about the migration crisis affecting Europe in the wake of the war in Syria and turmoil in the Middle East.

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Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center Announced

SMU News

Originally Posted: April 12 , 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU will expand its study of the important relationship between Texas and its cross-border neighbor by establishing the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. The center will be part of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College and will work in collaboration with the Cox School of Business.

The center is made possible by a total commitment of $4 million from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation based in Dallas. The corporation made a commitment of $1 million in September 2015 toward the establishment of the unique initiative, first called “The Texas-Mexico Program,” to begin researching and promoting policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

An additional $3 million from GRUMA-Mission Foods will support the expanded reach of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, whose research programs will focus on such issues as trade, investment, dynamic economic sectors, government and political relations, human capital and security.

The additional gift was announced at an April 7 SMU conference featuring an address by Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. She noted that the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center will be pivotal to strengthening the links between industry and the academy, and called the effort a “public-private success story.”

“We share more in common than what divides us,” Ruiz Massieu said. “That’s why this program is so important. America is a beacon of liberty that represents a bridge of understanding, one not built by divisive rhetoric.”

“I’m sure the late Sen. John Tower would be pleased to know that the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center will be rooted in the academic center at SMU that carries his name,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Being able to partner with the Cox School, particularly through its Texas Economic Freedom Project, creates a strategic opportunity for improving relations between Texas and Mexico whose benefits can’t be overstated.”

GRUMA Chairman of the Board and CEO Juan Antonio González Moreno drew sustained applause from conference attendees when, in announcing the financial commitment, he said, “Today we are building bridges, not walls. Working together is the best way to find solutions to common challenges.”

The center will make public policy recommendations based on discussion and research on Mexico-U.S. economic, historic, political, social, and border issues through:

Production of original research, reports, and white papers
Binational, bilingual annual conferences
Academic seminars and public forums
Research conducted through the center will help to shape the growing economic relationship between North Texas and Mexico, between Texas and Mexico, and between the United States and Mexico. The research is expected to stimulate economic dialogue and integration among regions and states in Mexico and the U.S.

The expanded funding will enable SMU to recruit a recognized leader to direct the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. The executive director will report to the dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, home of the Tower Center, and will travel regularly to Mexico to collaborate with partnering institutions and to present findings from center research projects.

Mexico’s Consul General Octavio Tripp noted the appropriate timing of the announcement, occurring during a presidential election season that includes debate on issues of immigration and border security. “This event is like a dream come true … especially at such a relevant time,” Tripp said. “The Center will allow for understanding in a systematic, holistic way.”

SMU and Dallas are at the geographic crossroads of the increasingly integrated market amplified by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The city also is home to the greatest concentration of Fortune 100 companies in the United States outside of New York City. Texas exported to Mexico goods valued at more than $102 billion in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and imported from Mexico goods valued at over $90 billion for the same period.

“Clearly, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center has the potential to significantly improve relations between neighbors who depend on each other,” said

Brad Cheves, SMU vice president for development and external affairs. “We are grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference in international relations.” READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Warring Tribes Studying War and Peace

War on the Rocks

Originally Posted: April 12, 2016

Forty years ago an intense controversy gripped the intelligence community over estimates of the Soviet strategic threat. Hardliners outside the community had complained that intelligence analysts were routinely underestimating Soviet capabilities and intentions because they relied on social science models that assumed rationality and reduced threat assessment to a bean counting exercise. What they should be doing, said critics, was looking harder at the intangible factors that provided a more comprehensive view of Moscow’s designs. The hardliners demanded that the intelligence community open its doors to outsiders who could form an alternative judgment based on the same classified information. READ MORE

‘Can the U.N. Walk & Chew Gum at the Same Time? Multitasking in Peace Operations’

Contact Denise Gee: or 214-768-7658

Originally Posted: April 7, 2016


Paul Diehl - professor of political science. Courtesy College of LAS
Paul Diehl – professor of political science. Courtesy College of LAS

DALLAS (SMU) – How does a war-torn country begin to re-establish peace after its people are left with damaged landscapes, psyches and international relationships? World-renowned national security expert Paul F. Diehl will examine related issues Tuesday, April 12, at SMU during a discussion titled, “Can the U.N. Walk & Chew Gum at the Same Time? Multitasking in Peace Operations.”

Hosted by SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, the 6 to 8 p.m. event in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Great Hall, 5901 Bishop Blvd., will be free and open to the public; RSVP to

“There is a lot more to peace than simply ending a war. Iraq is a painful reminder that defeating an enemy isn’t the same as ensuring long-term peace and stability,” says acting Tower Center Director Joshua Rovner. “These problems will also confront the next administration even if military operations against ISIS are successful.”

“Building stable political institutions after the shooting stops is extremely important – and extraordinarily complex,” Rovner adds. “Paul is a world-renowned expert on these issues, having studied the problems of peacekeeping for decades. We are lucky to have him in the DFW area, which is increasingly a center for the study of national and international security.”

With expertise primarily focused on international conflict and enduring rivalries, U.N. peacekeeping and international law, Diehl serves as UT-Dallas’ associate provost, Teaching-Learning Initiatives director and the Ashbel Smith Professor of Political Science.

He has written or edited 25 books and more than 100 articles and chapters on international security issues. His forthcoming book, The Puzzle of Peace: The Evolution of Peace in the International System (Oxford University Press, 2016), follows The Dynamics of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Evaluating Peace Operations (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010), Peace Operations (Polity Press, 2008), The Scourge of War (University of Michigan Press, 2004) and War and Peace in International Rivalry(University of Michigan Press, 2000).

Diehl, past president of the international Peace Science Society, has received numerous grants and awards from such organizations as the National Science Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the Lilly Foundation.

Before joining UT-Dallas in 2015, Diehl served the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the Henning Larsen Professor Emeritus of Political Science and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. He also is former director of the Correlates of War Project – the largest data collection effort on international conflict in the world – and founding director emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Academy. Earlier, he was a faculty member at the University of Georgia and also at SUNY-Albany.

Diehl holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

For more details about the Tower Center in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, visit or call 214-768-3954.

About SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies

In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, as well as the practice of politics. 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. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center pursues its mission in a non-partisan manner.

About SMU

Southern Methodist University is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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National security expert Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, on Brussels attacks

SMU News

Originally Posted: March 22, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Joshua Rovner, international policy and national security expert at Southern Methodist University, says that if ISIS is to blame for the Brussels attacks, as it has claimed, the action may be an attempt to reclaim lost ground.

“ISIS has already claimed responsibility for this morning’s attacks,” Rovner said. “The group is losing momentum in Iraq and Syria, and it may be lashing out abroad. Other declining terrorist groups have acted similarly in the past.” READ MORE

SMU’s Tower Center sponsoring panel on Texas-Mexico relations

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: March 11, 2016

Once upon a time, Mexico and the U.S. were friendly neighbors. They even talked about forming an imaginary North American community with a free flow of labor and trade.

Occasionally, the two neighbors might have a diplomatic dust-up. But they remained committed to an economic and political relationship that benefited both countries.

Those days seem like a fairy tale now.

Today, presidential candidates talk about building walls and sending drones along the border and deporting millions of Mexican workers from our country. READ MORE