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Day 1: Free speech, national security and what it's like to cover Washington in the age of Trump

March 13, 2018

Read and hear the highlights from the first day of the opening-week celebration of ASU's new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center

Editor's note: The first day of the opening week at the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at ASU was a full one. Here are the highlights; find the current day's blog here.


Panel: 'Covering Washington in the Age of Trump'

7:30 p.m. Monday, March 12

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel on media and Trump
Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker (center) speaks to a full house, along with CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip (left) and CBS This Morning senior producer Chloe Arensberg on the topic "Covering Washington in the Age of Trump" on Monday at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Three Washington journalists spoke about the changing media/political landscape in front of a standing-room-only audience Monday evening at the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center.

Leonard Downie Jr.

Leonard Downie Jr., Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Cronkite (though he’s perhaps better known as the consultant on the film “The Post,” ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle quipped), moderated the event, throwing questions in front of the trio to get their take. Here’s a sampling.

Question: What’s different about covering this administration?

Abby Phillip, White House correspondent, CNN:

“Everything is different. … It’s probably as wild and chaotic as it seems to you (the news consumer), especially by comparison to past administrations.”

“…The White House can often be a very controlled environment. …  (In this presidency) there are a lot of little tornadoes happening all over the federal government, and that’s what makes it so difficult to keep up as a reporter.”

Q: In a White House that seems to attack the press so much, why are there so many good sources?

Ashley Parker, White House reporter, Washington Post:

“This White House is in a lot of ways more accessible than previous White Houses. Some of this changed when John Kelly came in and implemented new discipline. … In the Obama White House, I remember, any little story I was doing they had to know what sorts of questions do you think you’ll be asking and what’s the topic and do you have an understanding of whether this will run on the front page or on A17. The Trump White House is not like that.

“You also have a lot more acute sense of what the president is thinking, because his tweets are literally what he’s thinking in the moment. I don’t buy the theory that he’s sort of strategically turning everyone’s attention away, covering up one chaotic thing with another.”

And as for all those sources? It’s because it’s often less compelling to be in front of him in person and more compelling to be in front of him “through the sheen of cable news.” So people are fighting it out in the press because it’s the most efficient way to sway the president.

Q: How do you handle all this chaos when preparing for news shows?

Chloe Arensberg, senior producer, CBS This Morning:

“Barely. <laughter from the audience> One of the most challenging things with a morning show is we have to have some kind of vague prediction of what might be driving the news at 7 a.m. in the morning. I work primarily day side the day before, and I have to say the number of times I’ve even woken up to seven different stories out of Washington that we had not originally had when I went to bed at 10, it’s astonishing.”

Q: Is some of this accessibility to sources in the White House part of the infighting there?


“The second layer of all of this starts with the fact that Trump is a candidate who came into politics fairly recently. So he has filled his White House with a lot of people who don’t know him that well, who haven’t worked for him particularly long. Some of whom are his family members, some of whom are longtime allies — although there are fewer and fewer of those people left — and what it creates are those factions you just mentioned.

“A lot of people with a lot of different interests working for this one person — that’s very different from what you typically get with a president. … Trump has always had the challenge of having a lot of people working with him who he frankly doesn’t trust a whole lot.”

Q: Are press briefings useful anymore? Do you still go to them?


“We do go to them. Are they useful? Some days I think they’re useful; some days I don’t. I think the greatest use — I think this is true not just of the Trump White House but of the Obama White House … the greatest use is to create a public record of what the White House’s position is on a given subject. I think it’s actually incredibly important.

“When everything distills and we find out what the real truth is, or we’re at the point where a decision needs to be made, we can compare that to what was said when we asked the question.

“… To the extent that we can press for answers on facts, I think it’s still very important. To the extent that it becomes this sort of game of trolling? Not so helpful.” 


Plus, “So much happens after the briefings now that they’re also often outdated and irrelevant in a matter of minutes after they conclude.”

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now

Q: Pro-Trump commentators often describe the press as part of the resistance to the president, trying to press him out of office. What’s your feeling on that — is it anti-Trump or normal accountability for the press to hold the president to?


“I think it’s normal accountability. It’s an easy narrative to say we’re part of the resistance. I also think it dovetails nicely with the enemy-of-the-American-people, opposition-party rhetoric that this White House has attached to the news media. It depends on how tired you are, how you feel when you hear that language.

“But I do think technically we work in an environment with strong press freedom and a First Amendment, and things aren’t so bad.”

Q: Have you ever been the target of anti-media vitriol?


(She covered him during the campaign, and Parker and New York Times colleague Maggie Haberman had just published a story that Trump did not like. Then they were at a big rally in San Diego.)

“All press, no matter what candidate I’ve covered, you’re always sort of enclosed by bike racks, but normally you’re in the back of the room. But with Trump we were part of the show. …

“We’re in the middle of this room of 10,000 people or more, and he starts complaining about our story. He says, ‘There’s a woman named Parker and a woman named Haberman, and they wrote the most’ — and I actually had a little name card that I quickly slid my laptop over — ‘they’re the most dishonest and the most despicable — they’re not here, are they?!’

“I’m sitting in the front row with a now slightly obscured name card, and the whole crowd turns around, ‘Boo hiss! Is Parker here?!’ and I was just like, <looks behind her> ‘Is she here?’

“The good part about being a print reporter is that no one knows who I am. A lot of my good friends who are on TV, especially women, felt a lot more vitriol. This has been reported, but CNN and other outlets got security guards for their female reporters to walk to their cars after rallies. So it was a slightly disconcerting, unnerving experience certainly for me to be called out in a negative way by (Trump) in a crowd of 10,000 people, but I knew my story was accurate — which was the main thing I cared about — and I also knew no one knew what I looked like.”


“I’ve had people post my parents’ address. I’ve had a conservative — I won’t even call this person a reporter — a conservative person who writes on a website online publish a story about my mother, including posting her photo online, in an attempt to attack me for coverage of a Trump surrogate. That kind of thing has really escalated.

“I don’t mind it personally … I worry more about the impact on your family and people who didn’t sign up for this. I signed up for this; my mother did not.”

Watch the full talk here, including the journalists’ views on when Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will leave the White House, what mistakes the media have made, people who have been vilified in public but whom they find quite sympathetic in person. ASU President Michael Crow also addressed the crowd at the end of the event, speaking about ASU's mission.


Video: Cronkite grads and jobs

Lisa Ruhl, senior producer at The Hill and one of the panelists in the afternoon Cronkite School event, graduated from ASU's master’s program in May 2011. She moved to Washington and reached out to Steve Crane, director of Cronkite's Washington Bureau, and the rest is history. Here she talks about that and how she pays it forward when she needs to fill a position at work — including her latest hire, fellow panelist Marisela Ramirez (Class of 2017).

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now 


Tour: Cronkite School's Washington Bureau

5:45 p.m. Monday, March 12

In the afternoon, prospective students got to hear from alumni of the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication about what drew them to ASU, what they gained from the Cronkite School and the twists and turns in their careers.

The crowd then went down to the Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center’s fourth floor to tour the Washington Bureau newsroom, where Cronkite students work 15-week (12-ish weeks in summer) assignments covering the nation’s capital for Cronkite News/Arizona PBS.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center tour of Cronkite Washington Bureau
Cronkite News/AZ PBS Washington Bureau director Steve Crane talks with nearly a dozen East Coast prospective journalism students as they tour the bureau and learn more about the opportunities at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Monday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“You’re not a student reporter; you’re a reporter,” Steve Crane, director of the Washington Bureau, tells each new program cohort. The students get credentials by the Congressional press gallery, the same as other media.

“One of the great things about working in Washington — and I stole this from the dean — it's a line some reporters don't get on their resumes during their careers,” he continued.

Later, he spoke with ASU Now about the Washington program. It has hosted 138 students since starting in summer 2011 and runs every semester (fall, spring, summer). The students work with Crane and Bill McKnight and will be working next to Leonard Downie Jr.

Since the program began, its journalists have gone to four national political conventions, two inaugurations, six or seven States of the Union, and they have covered many Supreme Court cases and churned out thousands of news stories — “and we eat a lot of jelly beans,” Crane said.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center tour of Cronkite bureau
Cronkite School Associate Dean Mark Lodato (left) and East Coast prospective journalism students (some younger than others) and alumni flash the ASU pitchfork in the Washington Bureau on Monday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Video: Why foreign policy is definitely worth it

3:05 p.m. Monday, March 12

Sharon Burke, one of the panelists from the national-security discussion this morning, talks about the views that gained voice after the last presidential election — that our global diplomacy wasn't worth the cost and time — and how that couldn't be more wrong.



CLAS overview — and civil disagreement among the D.C. crowd

2:49 p.m. Monday, March 12

Members of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presented during lunch, sharing the accomplishments and range of the college and this video:


Afterward, they opened the room to questions about the previous panel.

Stanlie James, vice provost for inclusion and community engagement at ASU, had stopped by the new center while in Washington for the American Council on Education conference. She objected to several of the statements made during the "Crisis in Higher Education" panel, including statements about quelling emotion.

“I would argue if you’re a professor, you need to have passion,” she said.

Panelist Allison Stanger, who was still in the room watching the CLAS presentation, spoke up to clarify what she had said earlier. She spoke about being seriously injured by Middlebury protesters. Stanger said she saw how the passion of a small minority got others stirred up to actions they might not have otherwise, actions that those students later were surprised that they found themselves doing.

“There is a lot to be angry about what’s going on in this country. … Somehow as educators we have to validate those emotions” but in a way that moves the needle, Stanger said. Part of it is teaching people to harness their emotions to bring about the change they want to see, she said.

James thanked her for the clarification, and both expressed appreciation for the discussion.


FB Live: 'Covering Washington in the Age of Trump'

2:35 p.m. Monday, March 12

The panel "Covering Washington in the Age of Trump" will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


Video: A war by any other name ...

2:25 p.m. Monday, March 12

After this morning's panel on National Security, Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle (ret.) spoke with the ASU Now crew about what happens when we use the word "war" to describe something that traditionally hasn't been considered a war.



Photo-booth fun

2:20 p.m. Monday, March 12

If you're at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center this week, don't forget to visit the photo booth in the lobby (and if you're posting on social, use #ASUinDC). See you there! 

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center photo booth
Ambassador Barbara Barrett poses with her nephew Ian McConnell, 15, of Blairsville, Pennsylvania, in the photo booth of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Monday in Washington, D.C. The photo booth will be available all week during the grand opening. (And yes, there are Sparky masks too.) Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Video: Understanding the lived experience for people who aren't like you

Laura Beth Nielsen, one of the panelists from the earlier talk on the crisis in higher education, talks about why it's important to understand how ordinary people live and to communicate that across the political divide.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now 


Panel: Group discussion at 'Crisis in Higher Education'

1:20 p.m. Monday, March 12

Paul Carrese, founding director and professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL) at ASU, introduced the panel at "Crisis in Higher Education? Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity, and Civil Dialogue on Campus." He explained how SCETL is dedicated to reviving the link between civic education and classic liberal education, and that the spirit of Socratic debate is crucial at both campus events and in the classroom.

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center panel on free speech on campus
Laura Beth Nielsen (second from right) speaks at the School of Civil and Economic Thought and Leadership panel discussion on the topic of "Crisis in Higher Education? Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity, and Civic Dialogue on Campus" Monday at the Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center. Looking on are (from left) Allison Stanger, Robert P. George, Greg Lukianoff and SCETL founding director Paul Carrese. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), spoke about the six trends that he sees as stifling free speech in higher education: political correctness run amok, administration run amok (such as tiny free-speech zones, or speech codes that outlaw harsh text messages or email, or "inappropriate directed laughter"); feds run amok, professors run amok, students run amok and the right run amok.

“I get really tired of people saying, ‘Is it the right or left?!’ Can you just focus on the issues?” he said.

Later in the panel, he would say, “We have to have really high tolerance for difference of opinion; we must have zero tolerance for violence.”

Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Legal Studies at Northwestern University and research professor at the American Bar Foundation:

“We need to consider and innovate how to best expose our students to new ideas,” she said. And to do that, we must do the hardest thing about free speech: We must listen.

She spoke about microaggressions and sexual speech.

“We have an inequality in the First Amendment right now,” she said. College women are told they have to put up with a fraternity crowd chanting “No means yes” because of free-speech rights.

“At the same time, we see a regime of free speech that protects the popular and the powerful,” Nielsen said, such as bans on panhandling, protecting workers, tourists and consumers. The Westboro Baptist Church protests ultimately inspired the congressional override that prohibits protests around soldiers’ funerals, but nothing mentioned about LGBTQ funerals, Nielsen said.

We expect white women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community to uphold the right of others to speak, but businesses and others are protected, Nielsen said.

“Some decry the current generation as whiny, snowflakes — but I would argue the opposite,” she said. These students are demanding that their subordination experiences are heard.

What we must do “is try to help those who are not like us understand what the world is like for people like us … instead we seem to be in a shouting match over who is (censoring) whom and we skip right over the listening part of free speech.”

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University:

“People are shut down on campus today — they’re shut down on the content of their speech” — not the aggressiveness of it, but the ideas of the content, George said. “Beyond the pale, worthy of being shut down and excluded, and even the basis for punishment.”

Campuses skew largely liberal, so students are hearing mainly one message. 

“We’re not giving our students …. an education because they’re not hearing the engagement of competing viewpoints,” he said.

Though he may not agree with Nielsen on many points, he does agree on one: Listening is key, and few are doing it.

“No one is regarding each other as reasonable people of goodwill who happen to disagree on certain issues,” George said.

Incivility is reflected in and provoked by the people brought on campus deliberately to be provocateurs, George said. He thinks that’s largely the “sense of suffociation” that students with dissenting views on campus feel, that they can’t express dissent or even have alternative viewpoints considered. So these people come in and “provide a service in causing an uproar” — and they do so in an incendiary way.

“There are many avenues to intellectual diversity and freedom of speech. And those advantages have mainly to do with allowing a university … to fulfill its mission,” George said That mission is three-part: seeking knowledge of truth, transmitting knowledge of truth once it’s obtained (and everything we believe on a campus should be open to challenge), and preservation of knowledge.

He said the best experience he has had in more than 30 years of teaching are the times he has teaching with Cornel West — working, teaching "and disagreeing, civilly and thoughtfully, but really disagreeing. And letting the students see that." That’s why having viewpoint diversity among the “grown-ups” is so key, he said. And as a result, the professors are better able to represent the other viewpoint more sympathetically.

RELATED: 2 professors, political opposites, urge concept of 'civic friendship'

Allison Stanger, Russell J. Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics, Middlebury College:

“I don’t think we have a First Amendment crisis. … I think what we’re really having is a debate over the purpose of higher education.”

Setting the ground rules for free expression is how colleges will get greater diversity, “without quotas or mandates from on high.” And also a problem are those who are rejecting ideas without even examining them.

“Group think, people mindlessly repeating what other people say … is the antithesis of liberal education,” Stanger said.

When you stop listening to other viewpoints, it is far easier to treat fellow human beings as a means to an end, rather than as humans, she said. 

She also emphasized the importance of free thinking in a big-data world, her latest area of research. “There are companies that want to reduce people to algorithms,” she said — don't let them. It's the same reason she rejects the bell curve in favor of focusing on the individual.

Universities should be teaching students to harness emotion in service of truth seeking, Stanger said — to better resist fight-fire-with-fire tactics. 

“Extremism has no place in liberal education.”

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now


FB Live: 'Crisis in Higher Education?'

10:38 a.m. Monday, March 12

The second panel, "Crisis in Higher Education? Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity, and Civil Dialogue on Campus" will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


Panel: Group discussion at 'Future of War and U.S. National Security'

10 a.m. Monday, March 12

Future of War panel at Barrett and OConnor Washington Center
(From left) Candace Rondeaux, Daniel Rothenberg, Sharon Burke and Peter Bergen take part in the Center on the Future of War panel discussion on U.S. national security during the launch of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Monday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Peter Bergen, co-director of the Center on the Future of War and professor of practice at the School of Politics and Global Studies:

“We had an interesting choice on the morning of 9/11 to describe what happened,” he said. What if only 17 people had died? That's what happened a year before, and we didn't respond in the same way and with the same language. “How we describe things helps determine how we react to them.” We called 9/11 an act of war. “I don’t think we still have the language to describe what happened.”

Candace Rondeaux, senior fellow at the Center on the Future of War and professor of practice at the School of Politics and Global Studies, spoke on the strategic pillars and tactical issues in today's Afghanistan.

“If you look today at Afghanistan, the stories that we’ve been telling ourselves have been largely defined by the violence over the past 17 years. ... How did we get here? That’s the big question. We often focus so much on the violence itself … but we forget the political piece.”

We must redefine what winning there means.

“If the U.S. can take itself out of this battlefield focus and reassert a focus on politics, there’s a good chance things could stabilize,” Rondeaux said.

Daniel Rothenberg, co-director of the Center on the Future of War and professor of practice at the School of Politics and Global Studies, talked about fake news, alt facts and echo chambers. Even if this issue doesn’t seem like it plays off the future of war, he said, it does — it's at the heart of the discussion.

He talked about research reviewing Twitter feeds. The findings: “Falsehood consistently dominates truth.” Those tweets that present things that aren’t true get much more engagement — why? “These sort of stories are more novel and more interesting. Fake news is compelling and draws you in. ... These are emotionally evocative claims.”

We are over-invested in the divide between what is true and what is false, Rothenberg said. “One way to overcome that is to think about narratives.” People come up with stories to explain their circumstances. We need not outrage and hysteria but an attitude really tuned toward understanding the motivation behind fake news, he said.

Sharon Burke, senior adviser of the International Security Program and Resource Security Program at New America, quoted Voltaire as saying that air, earth and water are “arenas of destruction, in the natural state of perpetual war.” 

True, Burke said, but they are also the drivers of war — and the elements that help nations recover from war.

Our demand on resources is growing. “Humans are remarkably ingenious” and we find new ways of finding what we need, she said, but everything involves tradeoffs.

There's room to improve on dealing with and distributing resources. The U.S. is the world's leading energy producer, which no one would have guessed 15 years ago (despite what some people claim now, she said). China produces almost all of world’s rare-earth elements, key to technology — “They own the resources of the future.” That will make pressure on resources more severe, or more unpredictable. And climate change will interact with resources, poverty and other issues that affect war in upexpected ways.

That has led to a new project at New America with ASU — “Phase Zero” (referring to Pentagon jargon about the phase before a war begins, when there's still time to make changes to head off war). They're looking at where the U.S. can make investments to promote resilience. 


Barbara Barrett welcomes crowd

9 a.m. Monday, March 12

Ambassador Barbara Barrett welcomed the crowd at the "Future of War" panel Monday morning.

“This certainly is a timely matter, when we think about what’s going on globally, even just this week. ... We know have to think about beyond geography and beyond the global world into what’s going on cybersecurity,” she said.

She said she hopes this building and this partnershp will advance the work for more security — a future where “security is what we have and war is what we avoid.”

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center
Ambassador Barbara Barrett and her husband, Craig Barrett, give their nephew Ian McConnell, 15, of Blairsville, Pennsylvania, a tour on the roof of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Monday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now 


Panel: Schmidle at 'Future of War and U.S. National Security'

8:45 a.m. Monday, March 12

Lt. Gen. Bob Schmidle speaks at opening of ASU DC center
Lt. Gen. Bob Schmidle (ret.) speaks during the first panel discussion on the Future of War and U.S. National Security at the launch of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Monday morning in Washington, D.C. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

At the "Future of War and U.S. National Security," Lt. Gen. Bob SchmidleSchmidle is a senior fellow in the Center on the Future of War, professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies, and university adviser on cyber capabilities and conflict studies (ret.) said we often focus on the nature and character of war.

“But we ought to think about what is the essence of warfare," he said. "The essence of warfare in my mind is understanding what it is that holds sway over us in warfare. How does war administer violence? … How does a war develop? How does war decay?”

When using "war" in our language, he said: “We tend to think of periods of war and periods of peace. Peace are the interruptions where we hold our breath between periods of war.” But what if we think about war as just increases in the level of violence?

Peter Singer, senior strategist at New America, asked him whether we are organized for the future — do we "have the right people in the right boxes"? Schmidle said he didn't know, but that the game has changed from conventional setups. In the world of cybersecurity, everyone of us touches things. When you log onto your computer and open a link, you could infect the entire system.

“One of the challenges we’ve had with how we organized the system is that we’ve pushed the risk to the end user — and the end users are us, and we know we are the ones who make the most mistakes.”

On autonomous weapons: Imagine if an automated system determines a terror target is in a certain vehicle and destroys that vehicle, but a mistake is made and the wrong vehicle was hit.

“Who is it that owns that now? Who owns that risk and who owns that ethical decision?” Schmidle said. In the past, there was a commander who made the decision that that’s the vehicle and orders the strike. "But if we’re letting weapons do that on their own, is it the person who wrote the algorithms?"

As weapons become more autonomous, increased responsibility falls to policymakers, Schmidle said. It raises a lot of ethical and tactical issues.

“That’s one of the things about autonomous weapons that makes us most uncomfortable. We like to think that if there’s a decision to kill a person, that decision will be made by another human.”

Schmidle was asked what he thought of the president's and nation's current budget priorities and direction.

“Let’s see if I can make it through this without making the front page of the Washington Post,” he quipped.

The thing with budgets and innovation, he said, is that "the more money you have, the less incentive you have to innovate." But we must keep doing the research that might not result in anything tangible anytime soon, he said; "One of the hardest things to get money for is where scientists are looking at interesting things."


Good morning from ASU in DC

8 a.m. Monday, March 12

Barrett and OConnor Washington Center
Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


FB Live: 'Future of War and U.S. National Security'

7:46 a.m. Monday, March 12

The first panel, "Future of War and U.S. National Security," will be livestreamed on ASU's Facebook page at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


Center namesakes: A primer on two ranchers

7:35 a.m. Monday, March 12

The Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center is named after two groundbreaking Arizona women. Sandra Day O’Connor made history in 1981 as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Barbara Barrett, a three-time ASU graduate, was the first female Republican candidate for governor in Arizona and is the former U.S. ambassador to Finland. The center’s renovation was funded in part by a Campaign ASU 2020 gift from Barrett and her husband, Craig Barrett.

Learn more about these two outstanding women:

Barbara Barrett
Barbara Barrett, three-time ASU graduate and former U.S. ambassador to Finland, speaks at the kickoff the final drive of Campaign ASU 2020 on Jan. 26, 2017, at Chase Field in Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

When Barbara Barrett was the U.S. ambassador to Finland in 2008, she rode her bicycle more than 550 miles to get to know the country, visiting dozens of Finnish towns and forming friendships among the appreciative Finns. Soon after, at the invitation of the Russians, she spent seven months training 12 hours a day outside Moscow as the back-up astronaut on a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station.

Barrett, then 59 and an instrument-rated pilot, ended up watching another trainee rocket to space, but that may be one of the few life experiences she has missed: A lawyer, banker, adviser to four American presidents on trade and defense issues, former president of the American Management Association, former candidate for governor of Arizona, former deputy head of the Federal Aviation Administration, former interim president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, 2013 appointee to the Smithsonian Board of Regents and trustee to the board of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Barrett was the first civilian woman to land an F/A-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier.

These are just some of the highlights of a life that began on a modest Pennsylvania farm where she developed a passion for horses and learned from her dad about the value of hard work. In addition to earning bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from ASU, Barrett has garnered one other remarkable accolade: top hotelier. In 2014, readers of Travel+Leisure rated Triple Creek Ranch, a luxury resort in Montana with 23 log cabins, the No. 1 hotel in the world. Barrett owns this little hideaway with her husband, Craig Barrett, the former chairman of Intel Corp., who continues to be a vigorous advocate of education reform.

Sandra Day OConnor
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor greets Frank Conor Armstrong (left) and his brother William Carey Armstrong at the new Beus Center for Law and Society on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus Aug. 15, 2016. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court (by President Ronald Reagan in 1981), an achievement that followed an unlikely journey. Born in 1930 in El Paso, Texas, she lived her first seven years mostly on an Arizona cattle ranch without electricity or running water and with the nearest neighbors 25 miles away. First earning a degree in economics and then a law degree from Stanford University, she struggled as a woman in the 1950s to find a law firm that would hire her, which eventually led her to public service.

In Arizona, she became a state senator (first appointed to fill a vacancy, then elected) and became the first woman majority leader in the U.S. Before joining the U.S. Supreme Court, O’Connor was a county judge and an appellate judge, declining a push for her to run for Arizona governor. After 35 years on the highest bench and seen as a nonpartisan centrist, she came back to Arizona to care for her husband coping with Alzheimer’s.

This American icon has continued to lend her name and involvement particularly to groups concerned with civic education, civil discourse and the advancement of the law, including iCivics, the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute and ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. 

Katherine Reedy and Penny Walker contributed to this blog. Top photo: The lobby of the new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center is filled with alumni, faculty, administration and patrons following the first day of the launch of the new facility Monday in Washington, D.C. The center will be a large presence in the nation's capital, with academic programs and intellectual insights to national and global issues. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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Best images from ASU's Barrett & O'Connor Center in DC launch week

March 12, 2018

Editor's note: ASU Now photographers share their best photos from the opening week at the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at Arizona State University, the university's new home in Washington, D.C. Check back daily for new images, and follow event updates at our ongoing blog.

Day 5 plus

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1 

Top photo: The new Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center on Monday, March 12, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The center will be a large presence in the nation's capital, with academic programs and intellectual insights about national and global issues. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

From Phoenix to Croatia, knowing Russian helped ASU graduate serve his country

March 9, 2018

Editor's note: This story is a personal account from the mother of an ASU graduate, and it has been edited for length and clarity.

My name is Donna Fox, and I wanted to share a story about one of your May 2017 graduates from the School of International Letters and Cultures: my son, Cody Fox. Cody Fox Cody Fox studied Russian at SILC and used his language skill while serving his country. Download Full Image

Cody graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Russian. With an exceptional military upbringing and ROTC career for the previous 10 years, he was immediately called to Fort Benning, Georgia, to begin the intensive training for Ranger School in the United States Army. It seems they found great potential benefit in his Russian education as he shipped out right after graduation.

After this past Thanksgiving, he went on his first deployment to Vicenza, Italy. His mission there is to train U.S. coalition forces and NATO allies along the Russian border in defense against any encroachment by Russia. He is now part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, Chosen Company stationed in Del Din, Italy.

About two weeks ago, Cody was ordered to parachute into Germany with his men to assist Croatian troops with maneuver training and self-defense. 

After a particularly long day, he heard a man call out "comrade" in Russian. As he stood up, he faced a fully uniformed, high-ranking Croatian military officer. The officer told him (in Russian) that he had heard one of the local Army officers spoke conversational Russian … so he came to find my son.

They spoke in Russian together for about a half an hour about various things. During the conversation, one of Cody's superior officers came upon them, listening as Cody and the Croatian talked and laughed together quietly.

Afterward, Cody’s superior officer asked him about how he learned Russian. Cody told the officer of his favorite professor, Saule Moldabekova, at the School of International Letters and Cultures, who inspired him to learn more about the language and Russian culture.

After the encounter, the lieutenant colonel of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (over Cody's entire unit) offered Cody the opportunity to serve as his personal Russian interpretive aide, serving as interpreter for him when they evaluated and planned international military operations with our NATO allies along the Russian border (Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, et al).

To be offered this opportunity at 23 years old is a great honor, and Cody was beside himself to be granted the opportunity. SILC and his beloved Professor Moldabekova played an integral part in it. We all have that one professor who shapes our future.

SILC’s hard work — from the secretaries to the counselors to the professors — shaped my son, and his life now has a worldwide influence on both our national security and our international relations with American allies.

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Diverse minds to celebrate opening of Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center

March 5, 2018

'Our job is not to argue politics. ... Our job is to talk about the future,' Crow says ahead of weeklong series of panels showing breadth of ASU presence in Washington, DC

Many universities have a presence in Washington, D.C.: a lobbyist, an internship coordinator, or a few folks who hand out swag and try to wrangle money out of federal agencies.

But Arizona State University is a presence in Washington, D.C., a place where top researchers share their insights with leaders who create policy and a catalyst for tangible change in an environment that is often synonymous with partisan dysfunction.

“Our job is not to argue politics, or to argue for this or for that,” Michael M. Crow, ASU’s president, said. “Our job is to talk about the future. The one place you need to be to carry out the conversation, to think about new ideas and to bring everyone together is Washington, because everyone is there from everywhere, all over the United States and all over the world.”

ASU’s presence, though already many years in action, is getting a tangible symbol of its commitment to turning academic research into motion, with the grand opening of the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at Arizona State University.

The 32,000-square-foot, eight-story center is in a historic building at 1800 I St. NW, adjacent to the World Bank and two blocks from the White House. The new building, and ASU’s overall work in Washington, will be celebrated with a series of events the week of March 12.

A resource for policymakers

ASU has long hosted students, faculty and staff in Washington, D.C. With the new building, the university will have space to expand the offerings of the initiatives based there, including the McCain Institute for International Leadership, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Cronkite News/Arizona PBS Washington Bureau, the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, the Center on the Future of War and the Global Security Initiative, among others.

The McCain Institute convenes prominent politicians and academics from around the world to focus on new models for character-driven global leadership. Through a series of talks, debates and forums, the institute, which identifies itself as a “do tank,” as opposed to a think tank, plays a unique role in the Washington establishment, bringing fresh thinking to seemingly intractable problems.

“Being centered in a cutting-edge, stand-alone building in downtown D.C. concentrates attention from outside the ASU family while bringing together all sorts of possibilities from within — that’s helpful when you want to make waves and impact in Washington with meaning far beyond,” said Luke Knittig, senior director of communications for the McCain Institute.

Also in the building is the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, which is focused on bridging the gap between academic knowledge and real-world practice by fostering interaction with decision makers and also with the public. The nonprofit think tank was co-founded by Crow and Daniel Sarewitz, the current co-director.

The consortium studies how regular people can play a role in scientific research and technology, according to Mahmud Farooque, the associate director.

“We are trying to move from what is called ‘input-output science policy,’ meaning how much money and postdocs or papers are published, versus what kind of real impact are we having in society for which we’re making this public investment?” he said.

“What it amounts to is engagement with a very long-term goal,” Farooque said. “We’re not looking for a change overnight. We’re talking about how we improve the architecture of our design so we have a long-term positive impact.”

HYSA opening

Farooque said that being in Washington, D.C., is a natural fit for the center, which runs a popular series of breakfast seminars.

“One of the challenges with the old building was that we could not host large events,” he said. The additional classroom space will allow more workshops for science and engineering graduate students, called “Science Outside the Lab.”

“We are very excited to be in this location, where the action is,” he said.

The newly renovated building, which will be referred to as the “Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center,” is named after two groundbreaking Arizona women. O’Connor made history in 1981 as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett, a three-time ASU graduate, was the first female Republican candidate for governor in Arizona and is the former U.S. ambassador to Finland. The center’s renovation was funded in part by a Campaign ASU 2020 gift from Barrett and her husband, Craig Barrett.

Student opportunities

ASU’s base in Washington, D.C., offers unique opportunities for students. Jordan Brunner, a third-year student in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, is hoping to launch a career in Washington after spending a semester there last year in the International Rule of Law and Security program (formerly known as the Rule of Law and Governance program). He interned at the Brookings Institution, a research think tank, and took classes at night, including a course in which the students learned to function as embassy staff.

“We simulated what it would really be like to give reports, to be ready to understand and respond with the correct information,” said Brunner, who acted as the general counsel. The class presented to State Department employees and got feedback on their performance.

At his Brookings Institution internship, Brunner wrote articles about national-security issues such as climate change and the National Security Agency.

“I worked with people who had been in D.C. a long time and were able to put in perspective what was happening. One of my bosses would say, ‘This is how this operates in real life.’ ”

Brunner said the experience was eye-opening.

“A lot of people think everything in D.C. has to be related to being a Democrat or a Republican, but the skills I learned were not political.”

ASU student journalist Noelle Lilley at work in Washington
ASU student journalist Noelle Lilley reported from the Cronkite News Washington, D.C., bureau last summer and got to see the political process up close. Courtesy of Noelle Lilley

ASU senior Noelle Lilley was the only journalist on site when shooting broke out at a baseball practice attended by members of Congress last summer. Lilley, reporting from the Cronkite News Washington, D.C., bureau, was interviewing Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

The shooting was dramatic breaking news, but Lilley also got to cover events like the national spelling bee and to see the political process up close.

“It gives you a much clearer perspective,” she said. “People wonder, ‘Why doesn’t Congress just fix this problem?’ But you get to see the intricacies and nuances behind U.S. politics and you don’t know all those things until you’re there to see it.

“Very few students can say they spent their summer interviewing congressmen and sitting in committee hearings.”

The Cronkite News bureau is the only Arizona-based news organization with full-time, year-round coverage in Washington, D.C., according to Chris Callahan, dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at ASU.

The students in the bureau cover issues that are important to residents of the Southwest, including border politics and water policy.

“We think it’s critically important that the Cronkite School of Journalism has a major presence in D.C. for the simple fact that Washington, D.C., is the news capital not only of our country, but really of the world,” he said.

“We are trying to be, and we believe we are, the preeminent professional journalism school in the country. Therefore, to have a working news bureau for our students to come from Phoenix and spend a semester immersed in the coverage of Washington issues is critically important not just for their learning, but, we think, for the readers and viewers in Arizona and the Southwest.”

Benefits for all

The students and professionals all benefit from the partnerships in D.C., according to Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America, a think ​tank and civic-engagement institution that partners with ASU in a number of ways, including through the Center on the Future of War.

“We benefit from being able to teach and have access to tens of thousands of fabulous students,” she said.

“I think for the students, what they get is real-time connection to national security professionals who are doing their job. It's a real-time set of connections that immerses them in what you might think of as lived national security, not just national security in books.”

Placing ASU students and faculty in Washington, D.C., opens the door to a lot of career opportunities, said Sarewitz, of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.

“It’s not like medical school, or business school, or engineering school, where there’s a clearly defined career path,” he said. “You have to be creative, you have to be willing to invent your own career.

“One of the reasons there’s fantastic opportunities is there aren’t a lot of people that think the way we think, and people find that very attractive and interesting.”

The nation’s capital is the perfect showcase for the innovative thought leadership fostered by ASU, Slaughter said.

“One of the things I love about partnering with ASU is, there's an atmosphere of what I think of as the presumptive ‘yes,’ ” she said.

“If somebody comes up with an idea, it doesn't automatically happen, but ASU is much more, ‘Well, let's try that,’ than, ‘Why should we do that?’ ”


Artist rendering of the new Washington Center
An artist's rendering shows the 32,000-square-foot, eight-story Barrett & O’Connor Washington Center housed in a historic building at 1800 I St. NW, adjacent to the World Bank and two blocks from the White House.

Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center launch

ASU Now will be covering the events celebrating the opening of the Ambassador Barbara Barrett & Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center at Arizona State University. Check in at asunow.asu.edu for blog updates; some panels will also be available via Facebook Live at facebook.com/arizonastateuniversity. To register to attend events in person, visit washingtondc.asu.edu/center-launch.

Monday, March 12

810 a.m.: “Future of War and U.S. National Security” panel discussion sponsored by the Center on the Future of War, highlighting core faculty: Peter Bergen and Daniel Rothenberg, co-directors, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Bob Schmidle and Candace Rondeaux, senior fellows. 

11:30 a.m.1 p.m.: “Crisis in Higher Education? Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity and Civil Dialogue on Campus” panel discussion sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

3:305 p.m.: “Exploring the Cronkite School” sessions that will include information about the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s award-winning professional programs in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Washington as well as a tour of the Cronkite News – Washington Bureau. Mark Lodato, associate dean of the Cronkite School, will moderate a panel featuring Washington Post reporter Samantha Pell; Lisa Ruhl, senior video producer at The Hill; and Marisela Ramirez, media intern at Edelman Public Relations.

67 p.m.: “Covering Washington in the Age of Trump” keynote panel, sponsored by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, featuring Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the school and former executive editor of the Washington Post. 

77:15 p.m.: Tour of the Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center and Cronkite News Bureau.

7:158:30 p.m.: Cronkite School reception.

Tuesday, March 13

810 a.m.: “The Importance of University Researchers Partnering with Mission Focused Government Agenda” panel discussion sponsored by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, moderated by Nadya Bliss, director of ASU’s Global Security Initiative.

11:30 a.m.1:30 p.m.: “How Will Self-Driving Cars Reshape Our Cities?” panel discussion sponsored by Future Tense, a partnership between Slate, New America and ASU. 

47:30 p.m.: Knowledge Enterprise Development showcase and reception. This is an opportunity to explore research prototypes and mingle with some of the top research thought leaders of the future from ASU.

Wednesday, March 14

810 a.m.: “Transformative Knowledge by Design: Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellows’ Research Impact” panel discussion sponsored by the Graduate College in partnership with the Council of Graduate Schools.

11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.: “Restoring Trust in American Policing” panel discussion sponsored by the College of Public Service and Community Solutions featuring Cassia Spohn, professor and director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. 

6-8 p.m.: “Expanded Opportunities through ASU’s International Rule of Law and Security Program” panel sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law moderated by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Distinguished Professor of Practice Clint Williamson.

Thursday, March 15

11:30 a.m.1:30 p.m.: “Communities in a Transborder World” film and photography presentation by the School of Transborder Studies at ASU, showcasing the community-embedded research of students. 

6–6:45 p.m.: Reception for alumni of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

7:15-8:45 p.m.: “Globalism in the Age of Nationalism” discussion sponsored by Thunderbird School of Global Management featuring Allen J. Morrison, CEO and Director General of the Thunderbird School, and panelists.

Friday, March 16

810 a.m.: “For the Win: Innovative Approaches to Athlete Education” panel discussion sponsored by the Global Sport Institute at ASU. 

11:30 a.m.3:30 p.m.: “How the Public Can Inform Science and Technology Policy: The Case of Planetary Defense,” sponsored by the School for the Future of Innovation in Society; the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes; the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and the Museum of Science.

15 p.m.: “Redesign School: The Future of Design Education” roundtable, sponsored by the Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in partnership with the National Building Museum.

5–6:30 p.m.: Arts and Design at ASU reception with The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, in partnership with the National Building Museum.

Monday, March 19

57 p.m.: “The McCain Institute at ASU: How Do We End Terrorism?” discussion from the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Executive Director Kurt Volker will host former Homeland Security Adviser (and McCain Institute trustee) Fran Townsend, former Director of the U.S. National Counter-Terrorism Center Nick Rasmussen and special guests as they describe the evolution of global terrorism since 9/11 and discuss long-term approaches for overcoming it. 

Tuesday, March 20

5:30–7 p.m.: Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology reception, convening leading African-American women in STEM and providing a forum for women to strategize and build coalitions, continue discourse from previous gatherings that have led to grant funded projects, share job announcements and explore opportunities to support and lead interagency functions.

Learn more about ASU in Washington, D.C., at washingtondc.asu.edu.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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'Dream team' helps international students find support, success at ASU

February 26, 2018

Faculty, staff reach across departments to holistically support global students from arrival through graduation and beyond

Moving to a new country to pursue your education can be an exciting, yet intimidating prospect. For the more than 10,000 students from 135 countries currently attending Arizona State University, there is a team focused on making their transition to the U.S. and the university a seamless and successful experience.

The International Student and Alumni Action Team (ISAAT) — or as some call them, the “ASU International Dream Team” — is composed of a dedicated network of ASU staff, faculty and alumni. Together, these individuals and departments collaborate to holistically support international students from the time they arrive on campus through graduation and beyond.

“Before coming to ASU, I was worried about whether people would accept me for who I am and understand the fact that I am from a different cultural background,” said Margaret Yirenkyi, a senior journalism and mass communication student from Ghana. “I had no idea how inclusive ASU was. Through programs organized by ISAAT, I gradually felt accepted and connected to the ASU community."

Yirenkyi says that the International Student Scholars Center (ISSC), an ISAAT partner, provided guidance on how to maintain her immigration status and assistance with needed travel and employment documentation.

“This ensures that I do not miss any opportunity to develop myself professionally, giving me the experience that I need as a Sun Devil," she said.

ISAAT membersParticipating departments include the Office of the Dean of Students, International Admissions, International Student and Scholars Center, International Student Engagement, Career and Professional Development Services and the ASU Alumni Association. communicate on a weekly basis to create programming that focuses on education, careers — and fun. In addition to a comprehensive new-student orientation program, an International Student Fun Fair and shopping excursions, there is an outing to a Phoenix Suns game and panel discussion with Suns staff members planned. These activities provide international students opportunities to build a community and learn about American culture and cuisine. 

These groups also support International Night, ASU’s largest cultural festival. The annual event takes place in November and brings together 39 campus clubs and organizations to share their culture through education, food, performances and more.

Students learn about other cultures at the International Welcome Carnival at ASU
New international students find food, dance and interactive activities at the International Welcome Carnival at ASU. Photo by Bryan Pietsch

Additional activities include career-oriented guidance in the form of professional development conferences. The goal in all of ISAAT members’ work is for ASU’s international students and alumni to feel welcome, supported and ready to succeed — contributing to an overall atmosphere that has made ASU the top public institution chosen by international students for three years in a row, according to the Institute of International Education.

Janell Mora, associate director of International Student Professional Development for ASU’s Career and Professional Development Services, says ISAAT helps reduce “interdepartmental ping-pong” for students trying to navigate a new school and a new country.

“Because we are familiar with each other’s units and what is happening in each unit, we can share that introductory knowledge with the students and alumni we serve,” Mora said. “And then have a go-to contact person to direct international students and alumni to, regardless of the question being asked.”

Mora says this collaboration is imperative in providing high-quality service to students at a university the size and scale of ASU. And cutting through potential obstacles is part of the university’s commitment to its students’ success.

“Our driving mission, to provide timely and responsive services while making sure every student feels as though they matter, requires that we work together to work around and through boundaries and silos,” said Carol Sumner, senior associate dean of students with Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU’s Tempe campus.

Students and alumni are encouraged to engage with ISAAT’s resources through the departments’ on-campus and online channels, as well as with groups such as the Coalition of International Students.

Andrea Brambila, a junior global studies major from Mexico who began her ASU experience this spring, found useful resources at International Orientation, another ISAAT supported-program presented last month at ASU’s Tempe campus.

“It’s been really great to meet people from different parts of the world and see how many students are enrolling in this college and how diverse it is,” Brambila said. “I’m going to use this experience to do better in college because of all the resources I know I have access to as an ASU student, and also to network with other people.”

ISAAT’s support for international students continues beyond commencement. Graduates can participate in the International Student Convocation, coordinated through a partnership with the Alumni Association and the Office of International Engagement.

After graduation, alumni have the opportunity to join the International Connections program, which organizes events like Sun Devil Send-Offs, professional networking events and more with the help of frontline alumni leadership in various geographic regions. Alumni in Maricopa County are also invited to participate in career panels and networking mixers.

“ASU international students have taken that first step by choosing to leave their home country and study in the U.S.,” said Daniel Hoyle, associate director of the International Students Scholar Center. “To continue this journey, we hope to walk many students down the path of awareness and creativity as a global citizen during their time at ASU to prepare them for the world that awaits them after they graduate.”

To learn more about student engagement at ASU, visit the Educational Outreach and Student Services' annual report. Top photo: Students participate in a photo book at International Education Week, hosted by International Student Engagement on Nov. 13-18. Photo by Bryan Pietsch

Stats on international students at ASU

Copy writer and editor , Educational Outreach and Student Services


'SABER ACOMODAR' tells the story of art from Jalisco, Mexico over past 100 years

February 22, 2018

Arizona State University Art Museum is pleased to announce "SABER ACOMODAR: Art and Workshops of Jalisco 1915–Now", which opens to the public March 16 during the museum’s Spring 2018 Opening and continues through June 30. 

The exhibition investigates the work carried out in studios and artisanal workshops in Jalisco, Mexico, during the past 100 years of production. The works included in the exhibition showcase collaborations between artists and artisans (e.g., potters, carpenters, blacksmiths, jewelers, sign painters and printmakers). The artisan studios in Jalisco, also known as ateliers, talleres or workshops, are specialized centers of manufacture where both commercial goods and artworks are produced. In a classic workshop setting, there are many people working, each specializing in a particular area of production. Jorge Pardo's work can be seen in Saber Acomodar at ASU Art Museum Jorge Pardo, "Untitled," 2014. Seven hand-painted ceramic light fixtures, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Cerámica Suro Download Full Image

The contemporary artists in "SABER ACOMODAR" worked closely with these workshops to create the artwork in the exhibition, resulting in the integration of contemporary ideas and both precolonial techniques and methods introduced by the Spanish.

This exhibition underlines the links between Jalisco and Arizona and is part of ASU Art Museum’s GDL>PHX initiative to bolster the relationship between the art scene in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and Phoenix. Both cities are sometimes ignored in favor of their larger metropolitan counterparts, Mexico City and Los Angeles, respectively — yet today, both Guadalajara and Phoenix boast thriving arts and culture scenes that are garnering international attention.

Displayed across three floors of the museum, "SABER ACOMODAR" features work by 25 artists in various media, including painting, sculpture, pottery, metalwork and woodwork. The Spanish phrase "saber acomodar" translates as “to know how to accommodate.”

"SABER ACOMODAR" is a traveling exhibition that was co-organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and ASU Art Museum and co-presented in Arizona with CALA Alliance. The exhibition is curated by Patrick Charpenel, the newly appointed director of El Museum del Barrio in New York City. Charpenel was born in Guadalajara and previously served as the director of Museo Jumex in Mexico City.

Jose Davila's work can be seen in Saber Acomodar at ASU Art Museum
Jose Davila, "Homage to the Square," 2016. Metal frames, epoxy paint and wire, 180x180x5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Travesia Cuatro, Madrid

Featured artists include Christian Franco, Chucho Reyes, Mario García Torres, Daniel Guzmán, Eduardo Sarabia, Eduardo Terrazas, Fernando Palomar, Francisco Ugarte, Gonzalo Lebrija, Jorge Méndez Blake, Jorge Pardo, José Clemente Orozco, Fernando González Gortázar, Jose Dávila, Juan Kraeppellin, Luis Miguel Suro, Mathias Goeritz, Taller Ditoria, Workshop of Timoteo Panduro, Claudia Fernández, Rubén Méndez, JIS, Juan Soriano, Daniela Aguilar and Cynthia Gutiérrez.

Exhibition support generously provided by the Helme Prinzen Endowment, Maestro Dobel Tequila, Cattryn Somers and Michael Cafiso, Mary Byrd, Jeff and Mary Ehret, Diane Harrison, Laura and Herb Roskind and Sharisse Johnson.

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum


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Experts review what NAFTA needs in the 21st century

A commitment to lifelong learning will help modern workers, say trade panelists.
February 21, 2018

Together, Canada, Mexico and the US are stronger, said panelists at ASU conference on trade and global competitiveness

Sticking around a town with a shuttered mill and bemoaning the fact you can’t buy a new Cadillac every two years like your high school-educated grandfather did will not keep America competitive on a global level.

It’s going to take a willingness to move and embrace lifelong learning to lift American workers left behind by globalization, said panelists at "Redefining Trade: A New Vision for Competitiveness & Prosperity," an Arizona State University conference on the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday at the Tempe campus.

NAFTA has been good for the three signatory countries, but stronger ties need to be forged to compete against the rest of the world. Together, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are stronger, panelists said.

The issue should not be one North American country against another.

“This is about creating an economic unit which is globally competitive,” said David MacNaughton, Canadian ambassador to the U.S. “The people around the world who are really competitive are going to be grinning ear to ear to because we’ve frittered away a global advantage.” 

“Any kind of tit-for-tat retaliation ends badly for everyone,” he added.

VIDEO: David MacNaughton on improving trade agreements

The danger comes from abroad, said Mario Chacón, head of the Global Business Promotion unit of ProMéxico, a trust fund of the Mexican federal government that promotes international trade and investment.

“We need to look at that,” Chacón said. “We need to fight common enemies.”

Mexico buys $8.3 billion in exports annually from Arizona.

“With the infrastructure we are building, that will go up,” Chacón said. “We want to get together with North America and have research and development.”

trade panel
(From left) Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton speaks as moderator Ambassador Kurt Volker of the McCain Institute and Mexico's Ambassador Mario Chacón look on during their panel discussion at ASU on Wednesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Free trade, and NAFTA, is a bigger issue than who holds office at the moment, said the McCain Institute's Kurt Volker, an American diplomat who served as the U.S. ambassador to NATO and presently serves as the U.S. special representative for Ukraine. “We’re talking about three massive economies, with massive things that drive them,” Volker said.

“We need to equip our people enough to be resilient at the forefront,” MacNaughton said. “The changes in the next 10 years will be like the Industrial Revolution.”

“We are losing jobs, but we are creating new ones, so we have to train our people,” Chacón said.

VIDEOMario Chacón on preparing for the future

The need for an accurate message

It will take three things for America to compete successfully in a global economy, said pollster Frank Luntz, who presented an analysis of NAFTA and trade opinion polling data at the conference. First, lifelong learning, with workers prepared to go back to school every decade and learn new skills. Second, more education in science, technology, engineering and math. And third, more young people seeking out trades, which pay well but are unappreciated.

The key, Luntz said, is simplifying the message: Globalization needs to be pitched to an 11th-grade education level with the message that it creates jobs, a higher standard of living and lower costs for Americans, and that it’s good for American business.

“If you’re taking about deltas and curves and all the rest, you’re not reaching the people you need to reach,” Luntz said.

There can be no change that ends people’s sense of purpose, ASU President Michael Crow said.

Michael crow
ASU President Michael Crow

“We need solutions across a spectrum that drive us forward,” he said.

Crow also echoed the call for lifelong learning, “so that every single person has an opportunity to advance … in this new economy. … We need a knowledge-driven economy core.” 

Anything below a 4 percent annualized growth rate is not a positive conversation, Crow said, citing statistics released earlier this week touting a 2 percent growth rate in the national economy.

“We need unencumbered free trade,” Crow said. “Free trade means open competition where a 100 percent American majority … can win in a fair and open system.”

NAFTA has been far better than is popularly assumed, Volker said — a message that is not trickling down.

“There is a widespread assumption that trade has damaged the U.S.,” he said. “That’s what you hear.”

VIDEO: Kurt Volker on trade opportunities in energy

However, the reality is it has been good for the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s been good since NAFTA came into effect,” MacNaughton said. However, he noted, “there are towns and cities and people who have been left behind.” He cited Flint, Michigan, as an example.

“The reality is not everyone has benefited equally,” he said. “There’s been no effort to look at mitigation of those who have been left behind. … The answer to that is not to turn back the clock.”

Trading on hope, not fear

Six million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade. Even viewed through a strong "America First" lens, the majority of the country is pro free trade, Luntz said. Recent polls showed 56 percent think NAFTA is good for the country.

Yet trade and the trade deficit are not urgent issues for most Americans, according to Luntz. Less than 1 percent think it’s the most important problem facing the country today.

VIDEOFrank Luntz on President Trump's hostility to NAFTA

Mexico has a more positive attitude towards NAFTA than the United States. But the trend of jobs being lost to robots and machines does not stop at borders, Chacón said. Factory workers in Mexico also are being sidelined by software and robotics designers.

That's where the dedication to education comes in.

“The messages we send need to be clear and reach the pockets of people who vote,” he said. “Our job is to send the world a positive message.”

“We have to appeal to people’s hopes, rather than fears,” MacNaughton said. “We need to turn the dialogue into a hope message.”


Top photo: Frank Luntz, of Luntz Global Partners in Washington, speaks on polling data during the daylong conference on "Redefining Trade: A Vision for Competitiveness & Prosperity," in Old Main on the Tempe campus Wednesday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


Anson Chan wins O’Connor Justice Prize

‘Hong Kong’s conscience’ warned of China’s encroachment in her acceptance remarks

February 19, 2018

Anson Chan, a longtime Hong Kong dignitary and fierce advocate of human rights and the rule of law, was awarded the O’Connor Justice Prize in a recent ceremony at the Arizona Biltmore. And her powerful acceptance speech, detailing China’s increasing political censorship of Hong Kong, drew international attention.

The annual award, administered by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, was created to honor the legacy of the school’s namesake, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It recognizes those who have made extraordinary efforts to advance the rule of law, justice and human rights. Ambassador Barbara Barrett (left) and Ruth McGregor, retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court (right), present the O'Connor Justice Prize to the Honorable Anson Chan. Download Full Image

“I am deeply honored to be awarded the 2018 O’Connor Justice Prize and to join the company of three most distinguished predecessors,” said Chan, the fourth recipient of the award. “The values embodied within the spirit of this prize, namely advancement of the rule of law, justice and human rights, are particularly close to my heart, and it is a privilege to be associated with an award that celebrates Justice O’Connor’s extraordinary legacy.”

Known as “Hong Kong’s conscience” for her decades of devotion to social justice and democracy, Chan recounted how she and O’Connor had blazed similar trails that broke through gender barriers. While O’Connor was the first woman to serve as a state Senate majority leader and first to join the U.S. Supreme Court, Chan was the first woman to be appointed head of a Hong Kong government department, first female policy secretary and the first woman — as well as the first ethnic Chinese citizen — to be appointed head of the civil service.

Barbara Barrett, former U.S. ambassador to Finland, is co-chair of the O’Connor Justice Prize advisory board and introduced Chan.

“Aristotle said, ‘Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, and brave by doing brave acts,’” Barrett said. “Tonight, we honor a just, temperate and brave advocate for democracy, human rights and rule of law, Anson Chan.”

Concerns about China

Chan expressed concerns about Hong Kong’s independence, describing increasing oversight by the Chinese government. She pointed to the changes that have taken place in the two decades since the transfer of sovereignty from British rule in 1997, a transition that Chan helped oversee in her role as chief secretary for administration.

Although she acknowledged that the British Hong Kong government was not without its faults, she praised it as a “corruption-free and caring administration, operating on a firm foundation of the rule of law.” She said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, known as the SAR, is now governed by the 1984 agreement that paved the way for the transfer of sovereignty. That internationally binding treaty was based on the “One Country, Two Systems” principle created in the early 1980s as a way to reunite communist China with historically capitalist territories such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

The treaty called for Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy, along with its capitalist economy.

“As time has gone by, however, it has become clear that Beijing is now bent on molding Hong Kong’s governance to become more closely aligned with that of the mainland, while still maintaining that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ remains alive and well,” Chan said. “The people of Hong Kong are effectively being told that, in the final analysis, the extent of autonomy granted to them under the Basic Law will be for the central government to determine.”

O'Connor Justice Prize advisory board
The O'Connor Justice Prize advisory board with the 2018 O'Connor Justice Prize recipient, the Honorable Anson Chan (center).

Chan’s words echoed throughout the globe, drawing a response the next day from the Hong Kong government. In a release, the government said, “Statements made arbitrarily to undermine the rule of law and our well-recognized reputation in this regard is not conducive to Hong Kong’s progress.”

The government statement went on to tout the “full and successful implementation” of “One Country, Two Systems,” saying the political independence granted to Hong Kong “has been widely recognized by the international community.”

But Barrett painted a different picture at Chan's ceremony, and highlighted the critical role Chan has played as a guardian of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

“Observers referred to Chief Secretary Anson Chan as the canary in the coal mine, suggesting that if Beijing poisoned Hong Kong with repression, the resolute Anson Chan would offer early warning,” she said. “And with her characteristic tenacity and courage, would defend the rights, liberty and lives of her 7 million countrymen.”

Barrett then explained how Chan, like O’Connor, has taken it upon herself to lead the charge for freedom and human rights after leaving political office.

“Since Anson Chan stepped down, many perceive that China has broken its commitment, especially with regard to booksellers, freedom of the press and selection of the chief executive,” Barrett said. “However, Anson Chan is still a potent force for freedom. She recently launched Hong Kong 2020, a democracy and governance think tank. And, like Justice O’Connor’s institute, Anson Chan’s Project Citizens Foundation promotes civic awareness and educates the public, particularly the younger generation, on the need to protect Hong Kong’s core values, rule of law, and basic rights under ‘One Country, Two Systems.’”

O’Connor’s legacy and the rule of law 

Speakers throughout the night drew parallels between Chan and O’Connor.

Ruth McGregor, retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, is co-chair of the O’Connor Justice Prize advisory board. Addressing the audience, she discussed the importance of an impartial and independent judiciary in guaranteeing human rights, and how O’Connor has worked tirelessly to ensure that justice systems across the globe are protected against unrelenting political attacks.

“In many countries, those in power and those seeking power understand the limitations imposed on personal power by the rule of law, and thus seek to limit its effectiveness,” said McGregor, a former judicial clerk of O’Connor’s. “But the rule of law is not defenseless. Standing in support of its principles are those who understand, not only on an intellectual level, but also on a deep and visceral level, just how much we stand to lose if the protection afforded by the rule of law is lost.”

McGregor said Chan, like O’Connor, is “one of those who has stood steadfast in protecting the basic freedoms ensured by a fair and independent system of justice.”

ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester, a member of the advisory board, said that selfless worldview perfectly embodies the O’Connor Justice Prize.

“What we celebrate here tonight is not just Justice O’Connor’s name and legacy as the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court, but really her continued focus on making the world a better place,” Sylvester told the audience, “continually focusing on not just our institutions here in the United States, but everywhere in which injustice arises.”

‘An eternal optimist’

Chan underscored her concerns about China’s increasing oversight and how much is at stake for Hong Kong if the rule of law is threatened.

“The rule of law is sacrosanct because, if it is lost, all the other rights and freedoms that it underpins are threatened: freedoms of speech and of the press and publication, freedom of the person and protection from arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment, freedom of association and assembly, freedom of conscience and religious belief, of academic teaching and research, the right to legal representation,” Chan said. “These rights and freedoms and more, none of which are practiced in mainland China, are spelled out clearly in the Basic Law.”

As serious as those threats may be, Chan expressed hope for the future, and vowed that she and many others in Hong Kong will continue to fight for democratic principles.

“I am an eternal optimist, and I’m always determined not to end on a pessimistic note,” she said. “I acknowledge that Hong Kong faces many challenges if we are to sustain the values and lifestyle that have made it one of the world’s most spectacular international cities. And tonight, I would like to reassure you all who have supported my selection for this most prestigious award, that the many of us in Hong Kong who believe passionately in the importance of democratic governance, and in the maintenance of the rule of law, will not give up the struggle to see this achieved.”

Chan concluded by likening Hong Kong’s perseverance to O’Connor’s and accepting the award on behalf of all of Hong Kong.

“I am very conscious that this prize is not just for me, but for the people of Hong Kong, particularly for our young, their generation, and all that we stand for. I thank you for welcoming me to your shores. For the memories of this evening, and for the honor that you have bestowed upon me. In my remaining years, I shall strive to be worthy of that prize. Thank you all very much.”

The O’Connor Justice Prize

Chan is the fourth recipient of the O’Connor Justice Prize, which was established in 2014. Previous winners were:

  • U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay of South Africa
  • Foreign Minister Ana Palacio of Spain
  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Visit the website for more information on the O'Connor Justice Prize and its winners. 

Senior director of communications, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


At SILC, professor finds opportunity to grow Arabic program

February 19, 2018

The School of International Letters and Cultures is a place for leaders, and one of the people demonstrating that is Souad T. Ali. In 2004, instead of going to Princeton, she came to Arizona State University and helped build the Middle Eastern Studies program into its current form.

“This was going to be an excellent opportunity for me to build a program,” Ali said. “I never regretted that.” Professor Souad T. Ali Professor Souad T. Ali. Download Full Image

She credits President Michael Crow, the deans and the provost with helping her found the Council of Arabic and Islamic Studies, an organization that promotes interactions and collaboration between ASU and groups throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds, an especially timely mission.

“The mission statement of the council is very consistent with my goals, from the very beginning of the program. To build cross-cultural understanding, multiculturalism, interfaith dialogue, diversity at ASU,” Ali said. “Education, and education as the key word, to help people understand both cultures.”

Ali and the department’s books and research all help ASU students down that path, and as enrollment numbers increased, it only became more effective. For her students, between events and classes, Ali builds connections between language and culture, creating multiple avenues for exploring Arab and Muslim worlds.

Ali is also a humanities fellow, part of a small group at SILC who promote cultural understanding for groups around the world “to promote research, to help those who are going for full professor,” Ali explained.

Her current project within that group is a book on Kuwaiti women in positions of leadership. This original study illuminates the relationship between the advocacy of women’s issues and power in the State of Kuwait. It identifies how women in positions of authority in Kuwait are, or are not, sympathetic to a feminist framework; how such women perceive their role in society; and by what path they advocate furthering women’s issues in Kuwait and the Gulf Region.

With her help, SILC has added the Arabic studies certificate and Arabic studies minor, and most recently added the International Letters and Cultures bachelor’s degree concentration in Arabic studies.

“It’s important, this breakthrough,” Ali said. “Huge cultural projects … helping deconstruct misconceptions.”

Gabriel Sandler

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ASU again a top producer of Fulbright student winners

ASU is once again a top producer of Fulbright student winners.
February 19, 2018

University ranks seventh among public institutions for sending students abroad in prestigious program

Arizona State University is again one of the top producers of students who win the prestigious Fulbright award, according to rankings released this morning.

ASU has 14 students in the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program for 2017-18.

Among public universities, ASU ranked seventh in student Fulbright awards, ahead of the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Penn State and Ohio State. Among all research institutionsThe top Fulbright producers among all research institutions for 2017-18 are: Brown University, 39 students; University of Notre Dame, 29; Northwestern University, Princeton University and the University of Michigan, each with 25; Harvard University, 24; University of Chicago, 23; Georgetown University and the University of Southern California, both with 22; and Indiana University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania, each with 21. The University of Arizona had 12 Fulbright students for 2017-18., ASU was 23rd.

Over the past 10 yearsThe top PhD-granting institutions and their number of Fulbright students over the past decade are: University of Michigan, 315; Harvard, 270; Yale, 246; Northwestern, 240; University of Chicago, 238; Brown, 221; Columbia, 189; Berkeley and ASU, both with 185; Stanford, 183; and Princeton, 180., ASU has produced 185 student Fulbright winners, ranking eighth among all PhD-granting institutions and ahead of Stanford, which has sent 183 students on Fulbright awards in that time. The University of Arizona has produced 106 Fulbright student winners in the past decade.

ASU’s 14 Fulbright students who are abroad now are four graduate students and 10 undergrads. Six are doing academic research and eight are serving as English teaching assistants, according to Kyle Mox, director of the Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement at ASU and associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College. Many of the Fulbright winners are students in Barrett, the Honors College.

“It may be a surprise to some that ASU has been such a consistent producer of Fulbright recipients, but to anyone who’s been here, it certainly isn’t,” Mox said.

“We are a truly global campus, and our students are committed to service and leadership. ASU students make excellent ambassadors and are encouraged by our faculty and staff and their peers to go out and do good in the world.

"That’s a great fit for Fulbright, and it’s a great thing for our country.”

In addition, ASU has 34 current students who were recently named semifinalists for next year’s Fulbright awards.

Besides becoming a steady producer of Fulbright winners, ASU has been raising its profile with other elite awards. Last year, ASU became one of only four institutions to have winners of the three most prestigious international scholarships — Marshall, Rhodes and, for the first time at ASU, a Churchill Scholar. In addition, 19 Sun Devils won a prestigious Gilman scholarship to study abroad last summer — the most everErin Schulte was the 18th ASU student to win a Marshall Scholarship. Ngoni Mugwisi is ASU’s first Rhodes Scholar since 2001. Christopher Balzer is ASU’s first Churchill Scholar. All three are currently studying in England. The nationwide Gilman scholarship funds international travel for students who might not otherwise consider study abroad — such as first-generation college students, those with disabilities and underrepresented demographic groups. for ASU.

The Fulbright program, created in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries, provides the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. The program awards about 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 160 countries. The sponsor is the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Top-producing institutions are highlighted annually in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Find the complete rankings here.


On March 21, ASU will hold a “Fulbright Day” at the Memorial Union in Tempe at 3 p.m., at which representatives and alumni from Fulbright will describe the program and answer questions.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now