Former ambassador comments on U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia

Tower Center Diplomat-in-Residence and former U.S.-Ambassador Robert Jordan was interviewed by Fox Business News about the United States’ recent arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the Iran Deal. Jordan argues that the arms sales are good for some workers, but that the United States should be cognizant of how the weapons are being used.

“We need to be very careful in terms of whether the Saudi’s are truly protecting civilian lives in this terrible catastrophe in Yemen,” Jordan said.

Watch the full interview here.

Jieun Pyun: Freedom in Asia is in Danger

Tower Center Fellow Jieun Pyun wrote an article for the George W. Bush Presidential Center about the low and diminishing levels of freedom in Burma, North Korea, and other Asian countries. A new report from Freedom House found that global freedom has declined for the 12th consecutive year.

“It is our moral responsibility to stand with the 2.5 billion people whose human rights are being violated,” Pyun wrote.

Read her full essay here.

TC Associate Directs New Center for China Studies in Manchester

TC Associate Directs New CenterThe Tower Center is happy to announce that our associate Peter H. Gries has been chosen as director of a new center for China Studies at the University of Manchester. The center, made possible by a generous donation by philanthropist Dr. Lee Kai Hung, will be accompanied by a Chinese Culture Gallery, and will focus on research and public outreach.

Read more about the Center.

Fellows and Associates Research Highlights: Fall 2017

Dominique Baker, Associate
  • Academic Lectures, Conference Presentations, and Speaking Engagements
    • “Undergraduate debt’s role in shaping students’ futures,” TG (formerly Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation), June 2017.
    • “Borrowing to get ahead: Undergraduate debt’s effect on graduate school decision-making,” Stanford University Center for Education Policy Analysis, March 2017.
    • “Beyond the incident: Institutional predictors of student collective action,” Midwest Political Science Association, April 2017. (with Richard S. L. Blissett)
  • Papers, Publications, and Other Writings
    • Baker, D. J., & Doyle, W. R. (2017). Impact of community college student debt levels on credit accumulation. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 671(1), 132-153.
    • Flores, S. M., Park, T. J., & Baker, D. J. (2017). The racial college completion gap: Evidence from Texas. The Journal of Higher Education. Published online first.

Continue reading Fellows and Associates Research Highlights: Fall 2017

Event Recap | Russia 2018: Preparing for a Post-Putin Era

Russia 2018 John Beyrle
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle
gives a lecture at the Tower Center Jan. 23.

Spoiler alert: Vladimir Putin will win the 2018 Russian presidential election (if it can even be called an election), but is his support really at an all-time high? Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, the final guest of the Russia Series, visited the SMU Tower Center to discuss Putin’s standing in Russia and world politics. He started his lecture with three reasons why Russia is still, and always will be, a crucial component of global politics:

Continue reading Event Recap | Russia 2018: Preparing for a Post-Putin Era

James Hollifield: Why Immigration Reform is so Hard

Tower Center Academic Director James F. Hollifield wrote an essay for the Bush Institute’s The Catalyst about the difficulty of immigration reform. He argues that international migration policy is a difficult problem to solve because of politically salient entry and exit laws, as well as questions of market influence and the impact of refugee-causing disasters.

“We must resolve these issues if we are to experience a virtuous cycle of greater openness, wealth, and human development, rather than falling back into a vicious cycle that leads the world into greater anarchy, poverty, disorder and war,” Hollifield wrote.

Read his essay here.

Scholar Spotlight | Why I go on Mission Trips

HCM Tower Scholar Brian O’Donnell has gone on three mission trips to Mexico and South America. Most recently he traveled to Mexico City over fall break and worked with an organization called Hope for the Poor. The Tower Center sat down with Brian to hear about his experiences.

Tell us about working with Hope for the Poor.

Scholar Spotlight Brian ODonnell
HCM Tower Scholar Brian O’Donnell in Peru.

Hope for the Poor, founded by Craig Johring, works with three main communities in Mexico City.

One is a community living in the city dump —
it’s a place of last resort for families if the father doesn’t want to turn to criminal activity to make money. The people living there scavenge for things they can sell. Craig goes there and brings food and sets up soccer for the kids.

Another of the communities is homeless people living within a 10-block radius of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is the main tourist attraction in the city. Craig also has a food cart for the people there and we helped distribute food to them. He keeps a list of all of the homeless people around to make sure that if someone disappears he can find out what happened to them.

The third group lives at a women’s shelter that’s hardly even a shelter. It’s a state-run operation, and it’s basically a place where they round up anyone who is homeless so that they’re not on the street. Craig is the only person who visits the shelter from outside of the government and he brings basic things that the women normally wouldn’t have access to like shampoo bottles. He also talks to them since they don’t ever have people visit them.

We spent a day at each of these communities and tried to understand these people’s lives. It was really eye-opening.

Continue reading Scholar Spotlight | Why I go on Mission Trips

Experts: The ‘Trump Bump’ in the stock market is real. But it’s not helping Trump.

Tower Center Experts Harold Clarke and Marianne Stewart authored a post for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog with Paul Whiteley. The essay, “The ‘Trump Bump’ in the stock market is real. But it’s not helping Trump,” looks at data collected since Trump’s election to determine whether or not he really his the source of the stock market’s recent upward trend.

Read their analysis here.


Center Spotlight | Idean Salehyan

Center spotlight Idean Salehyan
Tower Center Associate Idean Salehyan on a hike outside of Oslo, Norway.

Tower Center Associate Idean Salehyan has several research interests, all centered around domestic political conflict. The Tower Center sat down with him to talk with him about his latest projects and goals. Salehyan is Associate Professor of Political Science  at the University of North Texas and the co-Director of the Social Conflict Analysis Database project (SCAD).

Continue reading Center Spotlight | Idean Salehyan