CHINA Town Hall covers U.S./China Relations, State of Public Health

From tensions in the South China Sea, to international copyright law to tariffs, relations between the U.S. and China, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice presented her assessment of the past and present state of relations between the two countries.

As part of a national live teleconference, about 60 people attended CHINA Town Hall at the Webster University Downtown St. Louis campus Oct. 9.  The event was presented by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Confucius Institute of Webster University, the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and Webster University.  A second event was hosted locally at UM-St. Louis.

Dr. Rice, who lived for a year in China as a student, said the goal of leaders must be to ensure ongoing dialogue.  She noted the ability to talk through incidents and areas of mutual interest is very important.  “It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a strong and stable China,” she noted.   Discussing current trade disputes, she asserted the current state is not a trade “war” but a set of economic barriers that can hurt both sides.  She also said China’s expressed desire to overtake the U.S. in technologies such as AI and quantum computing was not a constructive attitude.

Speaking as a college professor, she said restrictions on travel by students of the two countries was a mistake.  She believes that attracting the best and brightest students around the world and allowing them to apply their talents freely is the best way to spur innovation and growth.

At the Webster presentation, Dr. Joan Kaufman of the international master’s program in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in China, discussed the current state of public health in  the country, including air quality, smoking prevalence and the impacts of the now-rescinded one-child policy.

Kazakh Leaders Examine Prison Reform and Alternatives to Incarceration During St. Louis Visit

Visitors meet with staff at the St. Louis County Prosecutors office.
Kazakh visitors tour the St. Louis County Justice Center
Criminal justice experts from Kazakhstan visited the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, MO.

Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency, coordinated the visit of a  delegation of Kazakh Criminal Justice Professionals to St. Louis, MO from September 14-22, 2018. While in St. Louis, Open World delegates were hosted by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

The delegation of five included Mr. Aleksandr Terenya (Head of Probation Service, Committee of the Criminal-Executive System of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), Mr. Beibit Nurzhan (Judge, Astana City – District Court #2), Mr. Berik Bakulin (Deputy Head of Probation Service Management – Committee of the Criminal-Executive System of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), Mr. Ramazan Khassenov (Judge, North Kazakhstan Regional Court), and Mr. Shynggys Alekeshev (Assistant to the Prosecutor General, Prosecutor General’s Office). The group was accompanied by Ms. Zhanna Toktarova a bicultural facilitator, and Mrs. Irina Bronstein LaRose, a bilingual translator.

Prior to their arrival in St. Louis, delegates completed an orientation in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Delegates had policy meetings with several Members of Congress including staff for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.

In St. Louis, delegates collaborated on best practices for Prison Reform and Alternatives to Incarceration. Delegates met staff of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, and local leaders in the St. Louis, Metro Area. Additional activities include Prison Performing Arts, Lindenwood University, St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office, and St. Louis County Court. The delegation stayed in the homes of local residents, serving as hospitality hosts.

More than 27,000 current and future leaders from post-Soviet era countries have participated in an Open World exchange program. Open World offers one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs to promote mutually beneficial options for depolarized engagement between future national leaders.

CHINA Town Hall to feature Dr. Condoleezza Rice video conference

Join us Oct. 9 for a national teleconference with Dr. Condoleezza Rice as well as an internationally recognized expert on China’s public health and demographic challenges.  The free event is hosted by the National Committee on U.S. China Relations, Webster University,  University of Missouri Department of International Studies and Programs, the Confucius Institute and the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.  Reception immediately prior to the teleconference, followed by Q&A and a local lecturer. 

Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor

Tuesday, October 9, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm
Webcast begins at 5:00 pm with Q&A after

Where: Two Locations
Webster University, Downtown STL-Arcade Bldg.
812 Olive Street, First Floor,  St. Louis MO 63101-1504

University of Missouri -St. Louis 
Student Government Association Chamber
Millennium Student Center
Parking Permit required, call

Dr. Glassman is the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of International Studies and Programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is a specialist in Chinese politics and U.S. relations with East Asia. He will deliver a short presentation about China’s changing role in the global system following Dr. Rice’s webcast.

Joan Kaufman is the Director for Academics at Schwarzman Scholars, a newly launched elite international master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China inspired by the Rhodes Scholars program at Oxford University in the U.K.   An expert on both China and global health policy, she was the Director of Columbia University’s Global Center for East Asia (Beijing) from 2012-2016 and Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Register to attend this FREE event at Webster University in Downtown St. Louis here!

To register to attend at UMSL and get a parking pass, click here or call 314-516-7299.

Cyber Security and You: Hear the Experts May 23

Learn about protecting yourself and your organization from cyber threats.

Hear from Rob Rudloff, a Cyber Security services team leader from RubinBrown and Matt Flinner, Better Business Bureau Education and Outreach Coordinator.

The key points of the presentation will cover the steps for concrete prevention and remedies of today’s greatest cyber threats, the latest information on emerging threats and tactics used by cyber criminals, and effective strategies for minimizing your risk of identity theft online.

There will be appetizers and a cash bar!

Cost is $20 a person, purchasing a whole table with 8 spots is $120.

Register here:

Pay by mail to:
Robert Foster, Executive Director
World Affairs Council
812 Olive Street, Suite 110, St. Louis MO 63101
or pay at the door.

Great Decisions: Global Health Progress and Challenges

The final event of this 8 part series sponsored by UM-St. Louis is on Wednesday, April 25th at the Ethical Society of St. Louis.  The topic is: Global Health: Progress and Challenges

The schedule for this event is:

12:00 Noon to 12:15 PM: Introduction of moderator and showing of portions of the FPA Video for the topic being discussed.
12:15 PM to 12:45 PM: Remarks by the moderator
12:45 PM to 1:15 PM: Q&A followed by a brief summation

Light refreshments, consisting of coffee and cookies, will be available to all participants in the meeting room at no charge.

Parking is free and convenient, located in the rear of the building on the north side. The parking lot is accessible from Clayton Road.


SLU Professor reports on Russian Elections

Dr. Ellen Carnaghan

“How did it look to have an elections where everyone knew what the outcome would be?”  That’s the question Dr. Ellen Carnaghan of Saint Louis University wanted to answer by visiting Russia during the March 18 presidential elections.

She shared details of her trip as part of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’ Great Decisions series April 5.  One example of the strangeness:  The presidential debates, which often devolved into shouting matches between the challengers to President Vladimir Putin, reflecting badly on all involved.  Putin, meantime, stayed above the fray, “looking presidential and doing presidential things” in state-controlled media coverage.

Putin as expected won handily, but his victory might not be fully satisfying, Carnaghan said.  “Autocrats seem to be secure in their regimes to outside observers but they don’t FEEL secure,” she said.

“Regimes near him have fallen,” she said, noting the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and Euromaidan unrest in 2013-14.  She said Putin’s regime is vulnerable on issues such as corruption, a potential economic downturn or unseen popular sentiment.

Operating in Putin’s favor: The GDP of Russia has grown during Putin’s regime and with it, the living standard of most Russians.

Also operating in his favor: Control of the press allows Russia to shape opinions of the unrest in Ukraine and assertions of Russian interference in U.S. elections.

On that topic, she said the U.S. response has been rather mild: sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats.

In general, “the checks and balances that we political scientists know are important don’t exist in Russia,” she said. “There’s no free press and no independent judiciary.” Both factors were crucial to controlling the March election and assuring Putin a third six-year term.

U.S. and China relationship takes center stage at WAC-STL forum

Dr. Joel Glassman calls on an audience member during his presentation at Great Decisions March 22.

On a day when fears of a trade war with China sent the Dow Jones Industrial Index plummeting, UM-St. Louis Associate Provost Dr. Joel Glassman described the complex relations between the U.S. and China as part of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis’ Great Decisions series March 22.

Headlined “China and America: the New Geopolitical Equation”, the presentation was focused on flashpoints such as the status of Taiwan and domination of the South China Sea, which Dr. Glassman observed could both be “resolved” if China chose to do so.  On those issues, and with North Korea, he praised the U.S. and China for “agreeing not to fight against each other.”  While the issues remain unresolved, tensions are not escalating and that’s a net positive in Dr. Glassman’s view.

Similarly, North Korea has become less of a flashpoint in recent weeks after the U.S. stopped insisting that China “resolve” the North Korean regime’s quest for nuclear weapons. “The U.S. in the last few weeks has decided China will not resolve the problem for us,” Dr. Glassman observed.

 In regard to the idea of imposing tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., Dr. Glassman stated “tariffs only impoverish all parties.” He further explored the potential impact on the local economy, focusing on the negative impact that proposed tariffs would have on Missouri farmers.

As a university professor, he also noted a trade war with China could have an enormous impact on higher education in the U.S. if visas are restricted, as one-third of international students at U.S. institutions are from China. Overall, the economic impact of these students is $40 billion he said.

Professor crystallizes Turkey’s strategic place in the Middle East

 Offering her view of the sometimes conflicting agendas of the West and Turkey, Dr. Tahmineh Entessar, retired assistant director of the International Relations Graduate Program at Webster University, spelled out challenges from political fissures, to the role of the Kurds, to Cyprus and the often fraught relationship with NATO in a talk March 15, presented by WAC-STL in partnership with UMSL International Studies and Program.



Of all NATO allies, Turkey represents the most daunting challenge for the Trump administration. In the wake of a failed military coup in July 2016, the autocratic trend in Ankara took a turn for the worse. One year on, an overwhelming majority of the population considers the United States to be their country’s greatest security threat. In this age of a worsening “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, even more important than its place on the map is what Turkey symbolically represents as the most institutionally Westernized Muslim country in the world.

The presentation was part of the Great Decisions series, presented by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.




UMSL Professor Outlines America’s Evolving Standing in the World

Dr. J. Martin Rochester, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis addresses
“The Waning of Pax Americana” at the first Great Decisions session of 2018.

America’s changing role in the world, from asserting industrial and cultural dominance to isolationist positions, was the topic of the first Great Decisions program of 2018.  Hosted by the World Affairs Council of St. Louis in partnership with University of Missouri – St. Louis International Studies and Programs, the series takes a foreign policy topic each week and showcases a film on the topic, an expert’s overview and allows audience questions.

This week’s speaker and host was J. Martin Rochester, Ph.D., distinguished teaching professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Among his observations: “Power isn’t what it used to be.” In his view, the ability of the U.S. to shape world policies, from human rights, to environmental issues, to voting rights and trade, has diminished.

“Power isn’t what it used to be.”

He likens the new environment to the plight of Gulliver, referencing his book, Gulliver’s Travails, in which a giant is subdued by smaller, seemingly weaker people.  The rise of rogue states and competing global factions makes it harder to exert influence, even as America exhibits a strong trend of isolationism.  Dr. Rochester weighed whether other countries can fill the vacuum and whether the U.S. will reassert itself in the shifting balance of nations.

Council on Foreign Relations author outlines conflict prevention strategies

Paul B. Stares, senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Preventative Action at the Council of Foreign Relations, discussed strategies for preventing global conflict and a framework for meeting the challenges of potential world hotspots during a WAC-STL forum Jan. 24.

Stares, is most recently the author of Preventive Engagement:  How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace

He proposes an innovative and timely strategy—“preventive engagement”—to resolve America’s predicament. This approach entails pursuing three complementary courses of action: promoting policies known to lessen the risk of violent conflict over the long term; anticipating and averting those crises likely to lead to costly military commitments in the medium term; and managing ongoing conflicts in the short term before they escalate further and exert pressure on the United States to intervene.

Angel Moss, a Lindenwood University Student, meets with Paul Stares Jan. 24

In each of these efforts, forging “preventive partnerships” with a variety of international actors, including the United Nations, regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the business community, is essential. The need to think and act ahead that lies at the heart of a preventive engagement strategy requires the United States to become less shortsighted and reactive. Drawing on successful strategies in other areas, Preventive Engagement provides a detailed and comprehensive blueprint for the United States to shape the future and reduce the potential dangers ahead.

Paul B. Stares is the General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. The author or editor of nine books on U.S. security policy and international relations as well as a regular commentator on current affairs, Stares has worked at leading think tanks and universities in the United States, Britain, and Japan. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
Patrick Marten, a student at St. Louis University, meets with Paul Stares.