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

Tower Center Associate Edward T. Rincón was featured in the Dallas Morning News for his research company’s recent study on the affects of Latino population growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on different markets.

The Pew Research Center reported that Latino internet usage increased from 64 percent in 2009 to 84 percent in 2015. Rincón & Associates found that in the Dallas area, Latino internet usage has almost doubled since 2011, according to the Morning News.

Read the full article here:

Why the digital divide between Latinos, Whites is almost closed

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Tower Center Associate Edward T. Rincón Finds Latino Growth is Leading to Market Disruption in Dallas-Fort Worth

Tower Center Associate Edward T. Rincón found Latino growth is leading to market disruption in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in a recent study completed by Rincón & Associates LLC.

“The Dallas/Fort Worth marketplace is under-going significant changes in the choices being made by Latinos. Selected retailers are responding to these changes, but many others are relying on old data or assumptions.”

Read the full press release here.

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Dr. Jim Hollifield | Evolving Migration Crisis in Europe

The Tower Center’s very own Dr. Jim Hollifield, Director of the Tower Center and Public Policy Fellow of the Wilson Center, appeared on Wilson Center NOW with John Milewski. See the full video discussion below or at at the Wilson Center’s website.

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Click Here to Watch on the Wilson Center Website

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In Case You Missed It | Senior Fellow Dr. Pia Orrenius on Immigration in the Dallas Morning News

Tower Center Senior Fellow, Dallas Federal Reserve Vice President and Senior Economist Pia Orrenius recently published an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News Mid-April. As the Presidential campaign season ramps up, immigration remains as a hot issue for candidates to weigh in on and Pia’s article will help readers look into the facts and claims surrounding the debate.

Immigration has emerged as a top issue in the presidential campaign. The timing is odd, since immigration into the United States has slowed sharply. Issuance of green cards, or permanent resident visas, to new arrivals has been largely flat since 2008, but dipped in 2013 to a six-year low.

Illegal immigration is near record lows, with migrant apprehensions along the Southwest border at levels last seen in the 1970s. Temporary work-based visas have risen slightly in recent years but remain below their 2007 peak. Plotting visas and migrant apprehensions as a share of the nation’s working-age population, reinforces the point that immigration is slowing in both absolute and relative terms… Click Here to Read More

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Dr. Jim Hollifield | Beyond Migration: The Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Challenges of Immigrant Integration

The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Science Studies’s very own Dr. Jim Hollifield recently spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s event “Beyond Migration: The Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Challenges of Immigrant Integration” alongside Dr. Henry J. Barkey, the Director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center and Dr. Riva Kastoryano.

Beyond Migration: The Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Challenges of Immigrant Integration

Despite decades of immigration, even the most multicultural countries in Europe are struggling with the scale of the current refugee crisis, and the challenge of integrating the newcomers. This crisis, one of Europe’s biggest of the past century, has the potential to alter the political fabric of the continent and undermine the foundation of post-WWII transnational institutions. The political and humanitarian consequences of the EU’s deal with Turkey have drawn much attention. But what about those refugees who have already made the trip and are now settling in Europe, if only temporarily? Looking back, what lessons can European governments learn from successes and failures in integrating earlier generations of immigrants? Join us for a discussion of the dilemmas of immigration control in Europe, as well as the longer-term issues of immigrant integration, identity, and belonging.

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Student Matthew Reitz interviewed Karisa Cloward about her first book, “When Norms Collide”

9780190274917Karisa Cloward, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Associate of the Tower Center, recently published her first book “When Norms Collide: Local Responses to Activism Against Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriage.” In her groundbreaking research, Cloward explores the clash between international norms that respect women’s rights and local norms that favor female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage as cultural norms. For activist groups and NGOs seeking to change the behavior of these African and Middle Eastern communities, Cloward identifies several important trends and key findings.

One trend focuses on the diversity of the communities involved. In heterogeneous communities, it is much easier to bring change due to the melding of different cultures and beliefs, while homogenous societies were much more resistant to change due to the cultural factor. One of the central forces opposing change in homogenous cultures is that it’s hard for uncircumcised women to get married. Homogenous cultures have many varying beliefs about uncircumcised women, which are untested, that create social pressures for women to undergo FGM. No single activist strategy will match every culture, and activist strategies should account for this. Some cultures see FGM as a rite of passage to womanhood while others see religious significance in it, and many NGOs unfortunately lump these different viewpoints together.

Thus, according to Cloward, local elites should be included in anti-FGM and anti-early marriage efforts alongside current efforts. Convincing the women who undergo FGM raises awareness, but getting the support of local elites helps speed up the cultural change. If the elites of the society, the leaders plus prominent cultural and religious figures, are convinced, it is far easier for the culture to shift in a direction that matches international norms of women’s rights. Many NGOs focus solely on the women directly affected, but the women are not the decision-makers.

Additionally, while there is a lot of public awareness on the international stage surrounding FGM, Cloward points out the need for more awareness of the harm of early marriage. Whereas FGM conjures a shocking, visceral image of immediate harm, early marriage does more harm to women on the long-term. Women subjected to early marriage typically have earlier pregnancies which is dangerous due to the body not being fully developed and the lack of adequate healthcare. Early marriage is typically undertaken for economic reasons, as dowries are seen as a method of settling debts or exchanging goods. For this reason, conditions like drought or poor harvests are correlated with increases in early marriages. International attention only recently began to pay attention to early marriage and more is needed to be done to address the issue.

In sum, Cloward’s book explores responses to activism surrounding female genital mutilation and early marriage. Both FGM and early marriage have international attention surrounding them but more needs to be done to truly make change. NGOs should divert their efforts towards the community elites and customize their message to the community rather than attempt a one-size-fits-all solution. FGM, while the more immediate and visceral of the two in terms of harm, is equally as important to combat as early marriage. Basing activist factors on community-factors will ultimately do more to combat FGM and early marriage and help spread international norms of women’s rights to communities throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Matthew Reitz is from Colleyville, Texas and is majoring in political science and financial consulting. Matthew is in the University Honors program and the Mustang 11 spirit group. He is also a Hilltop Scholar and has served as an inaugural member of the Residential Commons Leadership Corps. He serves as the President of Cockrell-McIntosh Commons and is an active member of the Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity. His key interest is researching and developing policy for US international affairs in the East-Asia region that correspond to US national security and economic interests. He plans to pursue a career in the US government after completing graduate school.

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Article by Emma Horner on Thomas Cronin | Presidential Leadership and the 2016 Election

Leadership Expert Discusses Complex 2016 Presidential Race

By Emma Horner

The 2016 election has made becoming the next United States President more burdensome, according to a presidential leadership expert during a lecture on Thursday night.

            Thomas Cronin, McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College, guest lectured at the John Goodman Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. He discussed the current campaigns and potential candidate possibilities for the Democrats and the Republicans, including their chances of winning the November election.

            Cronin argued that the winner would gain a large victory, but also a larger burden. He also said that President Obama’s 19 percent approval rating will be difficult to follow coming into the White House.

            There are more than 270 days before the November elections. However, there are only 27 days until the Texas primary.

            “[Cronin] wanted to come before the March primary to have a talk with Texans, to talk about the Iowa caucuses,” said Victoria Farrar-Myers, the Director of the Tower Scholars Program and a Senior Fellow in the Tower Center.

            Cronin treated the lecture hall like his college classroom. Attendees followed along with a packet of handouts that Cronin distributed before the lecture. The contents of these handouts ranged from presidential approval polls, spanning the last 50 years, to lists of factors that unite and divide U.S. citizens. Cronin related this information to how it will impact the 2016 presidential campaigns and election. Cronin spoke in such a way that both students and faculty could relate to his discussion topics.

            “I thought he offered a lot of good insight,” first-year Dedman Scholar Evan Snyder said. “He touched on what, I think, a lot of people in America are feeling in this election and on just the kind of issues that are becoming important.”

            Cronin discussed a wide array of issues that will be concerns for the future President of the United States.

            “Some of them, like immigration and homeland security, have been important for a long time,” Snyder said. “But others, like foreign policy, like we talked about, are not a huge issue. But with the terrorist organizations and stuff that are prominent, it’s becoming a homeland security issue.”

            Some students who attended the event participate in the Tower Scholars program for undergraduate students. Other student attendees desired to supplement their educations. This group included Kenji Yamanaka, a first-year international student from Japan, even though he cannot participate in the November elections.

            “I want to expand knowledge of leadership in America,” Yamanaka said. “I think this is a great opportunity for me to learn.”

            Cronin could not say who he thought would win the November elections, though he did acknowledge the difficulty for a party to win a third term.

            Cronin emphasized that this election is even more disjointed than previous elections. He remains captivated by new polling phenomena occurring within the parties during this election season, even with his years of research and experience.

            “The debates and divides within each party are sometimes greater than that between the parties,” Cronin said.

            The race to the White House has many more months to go. There are still many candidates who could possibly win.

            “You never know in this business.”

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Historian David McCullough receives SMU Tower Center Medal of Freedom

David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer often called “America’s greatest historian,” received the Medal of Freedom from SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies Nov. 18. The award is given by the Tower Center every two years to an individual or individuals who have contributed to the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity.

(l. to r.) President George W. Bush, David McCullough, First Lady Laura Bush, SMU trustee Jeanne Tower Cox and her sister, Penny Tower Cook.

(l. to r.) President George W. Bush, David McCullough, First Lady Laura Bush, SMU trustee Jeanne Tower Cox and her sister, Penny Tower Cook.

President and Mrs. George W. Bush presented the award during an event held at the home of Kelli and Gerald J. Ford. The Medal of Freedom Committee, chaired by Gene Jones, raised nearly $800,000 to benefit the Tower Center. Platinum sponsors for the event included Berry and SMU trustee Jeanne Tower Cox ’79, Kelli and SMU trustee Gerald J. Ford ’66, ’69, trustee Gene and Jerry Jones, and trustee Sarah ’83 and Ross Perot Jr. Guests at the Medal of Freedom event enjoyed a featured conversation between McCullough and his longtime friend, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY).

The Tower Center, part of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, supports teaching and research programs in international and domestic politics with an emphasis on global studies and national security policy. It also educates undergraduates in international relations, comparative politics and political institutions.

Past Tower Center Medal of Freedom recipients include former Secretary of States James A. Baker III and Colin L. Powell; U.S. Senator John McCain; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as former First Lady Laura Bush ’68.

McCullough also spoke to the SMU campus community at a question-and-answer session earlier in the day moderated by Tower Center Scholar Sara Jendrusch in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

McCullough, who said he had “always been impressed with SMU,” quizzed his audience of SMU students, faculty and staff and expressed approval that taking history is an SMU graduation requirement. “I was stunned to learn that something like 80 percent of colleges these days don’t require it,” he said.

The historian said he has about 25 more book ideas he’d like to see in print. He credited much of his success to the editing skills of his wife, Rosalee, “my editor-in-chief for 50 years.” He spoke lovingly about the craft of writing and confessed that he still composes his work using technology now consigned to history for most people – a 1960s typewriter.

And history, McCullough said, is how you make life matter.

“It’s not a series of chronological events. It’s human,” McCullough said. “That’s why Jefferson wrote, ‘When in the course of human events …” in the Declaration of Independence.

In researching his many subjects, including U.S. presidents, McCullough said that one of the best ways to judge a person, especially a potential leader, is how he or she handles failure. “For some people who get knocked down, they whine and whimper and blame others,” McCullough said. “For others, they get up, assess what went wrong, then learn from it and move forward. How someone handles failure can tell a lot about his or her character.”

McCullough has twice won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award.” His 11 books include the Pulitzer-winners Truman (1993) and John Adams (2001), which has become one of the most widely read American biographies and spawned an HBO mini-series. His newest book, The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, 2015), is a New York Times bestseller about aviators Wilbur and Orville Wright.

He has received the United States’ highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his “lifelong efforts to document the people, places and events that have shaped America.”

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Student Blog – Ryan Cross | Report on Dr. Andrew Wilson’s Lecture to the Tower Center Student Forum

Dr. Andrew Wilson delivered a lecture entitled “Civil-Military Relations in China and Implications for Foreign Policy” to the Tower Center Student Forum on September 17th, 2015. Dr. Wilson, an expert on the Chinese military and political systems, is the Phillip A Crowl Professor of Comparative Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He has taught at Harvard University and Wellesley College. Dr. Wilson has written numerous books and articles related to topics in Chinese history, including the country’s imperial and colonial periods, sea power, strategic theory, and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

After outlining the basic organization of the Chinese military, Dr. Wilson highlighted two structures within the Chinese military which warrant special attention: their coast guard and cyber-warfare divisions. Then, Wilson examined the expansion of these two components in recent history, with a particular emphasis on their increased use of espionage and modernization of communication methods. Furthermore, he established that the Chinese military is an “institution unto itself,” meaning that its lack of substantial civilian oversight makes it an unpredictable player on the Chinese political scene with enormous potential as an international player, both positive and negative.

By noting the independent nature of the military’s top leaders, Wilson defined the current status of the perennial power struggle between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the civil leaders of the national government. Many scholars have noted this dynamic, including Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell in China’s Search for Security. They note, for example, that Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao said in a major 2004 speech that the military’s function is most importantly to provide “‘… an important guarantee of strength for the party to consolidate its ruling position’” (282). Evidently, the Chinese military’s role has primarily been a means to an end for the CCP since its creation.

Wilson noted the swift rise of the Chinese Coast Guard to international prominence due to its prevalent role in recent conflagrations over disputed islands. He addressed the relatively new phenomenon of the Chinese Coast Guard dredging reefs to create artificial islands containing airstrips and port facilities. This is the latest development within the lengthy history of Chinese quarrels over small, uninhabited islands in their periphery waters. These include disputed islands in the East China Sea also claimed by Japan and other territories in the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. While typically spun by China’s leaders as a purely economic action to improve the sea-lanes with navigational aids, these island-building activities are seen by many of China’s neighbors as an attempt by the military to expand its physical footprint and, by extension, its combative capabilities should confrontation arise over said islands. Dr. Wilson clarified that although he does not expect any significant escalation of this disagreement in the near future, the Chinese game plan is obviously to preemptively bolster its military capabilities in the region, both as a ploy to intimidate its neighbors and as a contingency plan.

Alongside the Chinese Coast Guard, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Cyber-Warfare division is increasingly visible in current events. According to Dr. Wilson, cyber-warfare operatives are particularly threatening to U.S. interests because their position in the hierarchy of the PLA is unclear. When, for example, these groups recently hacked the websites of the Dalai Lama and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, American analysts could not immediately ascertain who had direct oversight of these actions. Confounding their attempts to do so is the inherent divide between the CCP, which runs the military in practice, and the Chinese government, which nominally claims to do so. Moreover, the PLA is not overseen by civilians and has no functionary equivalent to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, meaning that the PLA’s cadre of leaders is a stand-alone entity that is separate from President Xi Jinping’s inner circle. After establishing the contrasts of the hierarchy of power of Chinese and U.S. military forces, Dr. Wilson concluded that Chinese cyber-warfare activities will continue to be carried out in a sporadic and disorganized fashion, owing to the messiness inherent in the division of power of the CCP and the conventional government.

In summation, Dr. Wilson’s lecture focused on the growth of two noteworthy components of the Chinese military: its coast guard and cyber-warfare functions. Though other divisions are similarly important, such as the PLA Navy (PLAN), scrutinizing these two divisions helps to illuminate the changing nature of the Chinese military. As such, Wilson drew on his expertise of maritime power and military development to compose a prediction for the future of U.S. – China relations. With the “pivot” of American foreign policy from the Middle East to Asia, China’s stature in international relations will undoubtedly increase. Wilson explained his misgivings about the practical capabilities of the Chinese military because the divide of power between the CCP and the government means that dual and conflicting messages concerning the direction of China’s forces are constantly being promoted. For China to cement its role as a world power, he contends, it must overcome this barrier by unifying its agenda and message across power structures.

crossRyan is a sophomore from Westport, Connecticut and is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish and history. At SMU, he is a member of the University Honors Program, the Hilltop New Century Scholars Program, the Career Development Ambassadors, and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Ryan plans to pursue a career with the U.S. government after graduation.

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SMU Junior, Kaitlyn Montan, Receives the Jack C. and Annette K. Vaughn Foreign Service and International Affairs Internship

HeadshotSMU student, Kaitlyn Montan, receives Tower Center’s 2016 Jack C. and Annette K. Vaughn Foreign Service and International Affairs Internship.

Kaitlyn Montan is from Flower Mound, Texas, and is majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a concentration in Middle East and Africa. Kaitlyn is the Residential Assistant for McElvaney, one of the Residential Commons on campus, and is the Hospitality Chair for the Student Leadership Council of SMU Catholic. She is also a member of the Robert Hyer Honor Society, SMU’s most prestigious undergraduate honor society.

Every academic year, the Tower Center offers one Foreign Service and International Affairs Internship which will allow a highly qualified SMU sophomore or junior student the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of American foreign affairs. The selection process is based on merit and determined by an application and interview process. Additionally, students applying for the State Department Intern Program must meet the eligibility requirement of this program, which includes a background investigation necessary to obtain security clearance. Students selected by the Tower Center but not chosen by the State Department Intern Program will be placed in another international affairs center, government agency, or think tank in Washington, DC.

The past Vaughn Interns are:

  • Brandon Roselius, 2015 Vaughn Intern
  • Nayelly Dominguez, 2014 Vaughn Intern
  • Julien Teel, 2013 Vaughn Intern
  • Rahfin Faruk, 2013 Vaughn Intern

Learn more about the Tower Center student fellowships and scholarships:

Ray Rafidi | Associate Director for Administrative and Academic Affairs | | 214-768-3665

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