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Trump in the World

Story by
Nancy Joseph
Donald Trump speaking with supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters in Phoenix, Arizona. Media credit: flickr photo by Gage Skidmore

It’s been a roller coaster year. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the U.S. administration has pursued dramatic policy changes and challenged traditional alliances. While many Americans are stunned by the abrupt upending of the status quo, we’re not the only ones. The impact of Trump’s presidency is being felt around the world — which is why the Jackson School of International Studies introduced Trump in the World: International Implications of the Trump Presidency, a course and lecture series.

"Once Trump was elected, it became clear that many of the things we’d taken for granted, from NATO to the U.S. position on trade and immigration, could change in fundamental ways that could lead to a whole new relationship between the United States and the rest of the world,” says Reşat Kasaba, director of the Jackson School. “Since Jackson School faculty spend their lives studying places like China, Russia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, we saw an opportunity to not only try to make sense of what’s happening, but also share our thoughts with our students and the public.”

The Jackson School first offered Trump in the World as a two-credit lecture course in spring 2017, with a different professor presenting each week. The course proved popular and was offered again last fall. A third iteration is planned for spring quarter 2018. All lectures are also open to the public, reflecting the Jackson School’s interest in connecting the campus and community.

There are people in the Jackson School who can talk about all sides of this. We wanted to be comprehensive.

Just as international politics are dynamic and ever-changing, so are the faculty lectures. With nine lectures and one panel discussion presented each quarter, only a handful of faculty have presented more than once over three quarters. That, says Kasaba, is a testament to the breadth of expertise in the Jackson School and the range of questions raised by Trump’s presidency. “There are so many different sides to this — how this administration’s policies affect different parts of the world, but also different topics from nuclear weapons to climate change to migration,” says Kasaba. “There are people in the Jackson School who can talk about all sides of this. We wanted to be comprehensive, which meant we couldn’t do it all in one quarter.”

Lectures have focused on everything from Trump’s impact in Asia, Mexico, and Europe, to the U.S.-Mexican border and authoritarian trends past and present. “I thought it would be interesting to talk about this administration not from the U.S. perspective, but from the perspective of different regions,” says Kasaba. “For example, how does the travel ban look from the Middle East? How does the Russia-U.S. tension look from Russia? That was the main question we gave the speakers. Because the implications are not only for us in the U.S., but for people all around the world.”

The spring quarter series begins March 27. While students seeking credit must register for the course, the public is welcome to attend any lectures that interest them, at no charge. With such compelling and timely topics, it’s the best deal in town.

Kasaba is among those who look forward to hearing from Jackson School faculty each week. “Once a week you get to listen to prepared remarks on a current topic by people who have given their lives to studying this,” he says. “I consider it a privilege.”