International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk Mon, 21 Jun 2021 22:21:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 Meet the FIU Fulbright Program Champion: Iqbal Akhtar | News from the FIU Mon, 21 Jun 2021 21:30:00 +0000

Since the mid-1970s, CRF academics have received Fulbright rewards and appropriated the Fulbright mission: to increase mutual understanding and to support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Returning Fulbrights develop an affinity for the program throughout their lives and continue to infuse interpersonal diplomacy into their college life, including promoting Fulbright opportunities to their colleagues and students and serving as peer reviewers of Fulbright applications. .

Iqbal Akhtar — an associate professor who holds positions in the Department of Religious studies and Politics and international relations and founding director of Western Indian Ocean Studies as well as program director of Jain studies– was a Fulbright champion long before he even decided to apply for a Fulbright grant.

“I have observed the breadth and depth of scholarships that visiting scholars and Fulbright sponsored students (and other programs) have brought to the Green School of International and Public Affairs and I knew that with a little commitment and coordination, I could harness their knowledge and talents to move our programs forward, ”Akhtar explains. “This became particularly evident to me when I organized an informal session for visiting scholars and students to share their projects and ambitions with us. “

Amit Ranjan was hosted by the Modern Languages ​​Department as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) for Hindi in 2015-2016. During Ranjan’s time at the CRF, Akhtar noticed his an in-depth knowledge of Anglo-Indian and Hindi literature and a keen interest in engaging with communities on and off campus. “Dr. Ranjan’s expertise was ideal for supporting us in the development of South Asian studies initiatives, and we agreed that we wanted to continue to collaborate,” recalls Akhtar.

This led Akhtar to submit an application for a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) scholarship. The SIR is designed for US institutions to invite a foreign scholar to lecture or lecture and contribute unique knowledge in program development and new programs for a semester or full academic year. Ranjan was thrilled with the opportunity to return to Miami to spend 2019-2020 as the FIU’s first SIR Fulbright. Cut off by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ranjan returned to India in early 2020 but is expected to arrive at the FIU in August this year to complete the second half of his SIR project.

Since then, Akhtar has submitted a second SIR nomination which resulted in the Sri Lankan Senior Researcher Award. As a result, Professor BA Hussainmiya from the Department of Social Studies at the University of South East Sri Lanka joined SIPA in spring 2022. Hussainmiya will support the development of centers for Muslim and Jain World Studies as well as Tamil endowment. He is expected to give public lectures, translate Tamil Islamic manuscripts, and help with federal and local grant applications.

In addition, Akhtar also took the opportunity to host four Fulbright FLTA visitors to teach Hindi, Turkish, Urdu and Uzbek language classes and serve as cultural ambassadors on campus and the local community in the fall of 2021. FLTA will be operated by the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, International Student & Scholar Services, FIU Global and others to help achieve campus internationalization goals.

To further his own research, Akhtar, as an American Fulbright fellow himself, will soon be heading to Pakistan for a project helping to bring Pakistan’s unique history to the international community. Throughout the fall, he will also work with the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan and academics from Lahore University of Management and Technology to develop capacity building by developing grant opportunities with the Department of US state and US Agency for International Development. In addition, he will pioneer the development of the academic study of Jainism with leading universities in Punjab.

The cause of advancing relations with Pakistan and initiating collaborations with academics is close to his heart.

“Pakistan has been closed for a long time but is now experiencing a new opening for international collaboration and exchange,” Akhtar said. “Fulbright gives me a unique opportunity not only to develop my own scholarship, but also to engage one-on-one with professors and students whose interests overlap with ours and to initiate collaborative work.

With champions like Akhtar, the Fulbright program, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is all the more effective in fulfilling its mission of interpersonal diplomacy.

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Risk of forced labor in the garment industry rises due to pandemic and industry response Mon, 21 Jun 2021 05:03:03 +0000

  • The first and only report to interview a large sample of garment supply chain workers (1,200 workers in 302 factories and four countries) found an increased risk of forced labor during the pandemic
  • This risk has been exacerbated by the response of retail companies, and there is little evidence that most have acted in accordance with their social responsibilities to support their supply chain workers, despite having access to funds. recovery in the event of a pandemic.
  • A comprehensive new system was used during the study to look for indicators that a person is vulnerable to forced labor
  • Recovery from the pandemic should include support for supply chain workers to mitigate the deterioration of their living and working conditions

The deterioration in the living and working conditions of workers in clothing supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of forced labor, according to a new report from the University of Sheffield.

“The uneven impacts of Covid-19 on global clothing supply chains” revealed that workers in Ethiopia, Honduras, India and Myanmar who produce many of the garments that we buy from our favorite brands in the UK and in Europe have been severely affected by the pandemic.

Both those who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs and those who lost their jobs in the past year and found a new job reported a sharp drop in their income and working conditions; and both groups experienced an increased risk of forced labor during this time.

The study is the largest to directly engage the voices of the people employed to make the clothes we buy in the UK during the pandemic, along with interviews with retailers and a review of company documentation. The precedents have focused only on the impact for multinational corporations (MNCs) that own big fashion brands and retailers. It uses a comprehensive new system to look for indicators that a person is vulnerable to forced labor.

Professor Genevieve LeBaron, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield, said: “There is no commonly accepted definition of what constitutes forced labor, and contrary to public perceptions of the modern slavery, people cannot be held against their will. or trafficked without knowing it in their situation.

“They can find themselves in a job that they cannot leave for a number of reasons: false promises and deception to keep a person at work in increasingly difficult conditions, threat of sanctions against the worker or his family. if he left, or sometimes forcing a person into debt to the manufacturer because of poor wages, causing them to struggle to meet their basic needs for housing and food. “

The study found that both groups of workers experienced indicators of forced labor, with the situation clearly deteriorating during the pandemic. He pointed out that many companies fell short of meeting their commitments to good practice; including sourcing sustainable products from manufacturers with fair working conditions, pay and no use of the farm.

Business actions by companies during the pandemic have highlighted how many business models within the garment industry fundamentally contradict these commitments, and that current government regulations do not go far enough to protect workers.

Although the study found that there were examples of companies acting in a way that honored their social commitments, these were mostly companies that directly owned factories or had long-standing partnerships with manufacturers. it was crucial to protect. In these cases, workers were more likely to keep jobs during the pandemic.

Professor LeBaron said: “It appears that many companies in the clothing industry have accessed emergency funding during the pandemic, but have also provided little or no evidence that they have honored the social responsibilities that the Most of the brands we recognize have workers in their supply chains at the same time.

“At the start of the pandemic, millions of pounds of canceled orders forced many manufacturers in places like Ethiopia to lay off staff, who then became vulnerable to exploitation in the desperate search for new jobs. .

Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs said they experienced a deterioration in working conditions and pay, exacerbating the already troubling inequalities between the countries that benefit from their work and the workers themselves. “

Already, some manufacturers are pursuing legal actions against companies that canceled orders worth millions of pounds during the pandemic, and there are growing discussions about whether the conduct of clothing brands during the pandemic was legal.

The report calls on governments to strengthen the governance of supply chains and retailers to address the damage caused during the pandemic.

Professor LeBaron added: “Our report shows that retail companies have tried to offset the potential damage from the pandemic by passing the losses on to their suppliers and workers who could least afford it. Most of these companies have very deep pockets and must act immediately to address the social challenges that their responses to the pandemic have created.

“Prohibit the sale of below-cost manufactured products and forced labor, ensure companies relieve supply chain pressures that lead suppliers to use unfair labor practices and demand brands that they report on the public rescue funds received and how they were used. be a good start in forcing retailers to be more transparent about the way they work; help tackle the growing inequalities faced by supply chain workers who meet our demand for high-end, fast-paced fashion; and help consumers make more sustainable and ethical choices when shopping. “

Jakub Sobik, communications director at the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center (the Modern Slavery PEC), which funded the research as part of his call on the impact of Covid-19 on modern slavery in the world, said:

“This report highlights the uneven impact of Covid-19 on complex business supply chains and the need to do more to protect workers producing clothing sold around the world from exploitation.

“Businesses should think about how their actions can rectify the situation and develop different responses for the future, while working with governments to ensure a level playing field for all businesses, encouraging those that are already applying the right ones. practice.”


On June 30, 2021, a virtual roundtable will be organized to discuss the findings of “The uneven impacts of the pandemic on global clothing supply chains”, you can register and join the team here: https: // /pandemics-uneven-impacts-on-global-clothing-supply-chains-158701637871

Media Contact: Rebecca Ferguson, Media Relations Manager, 0114 222 3670,

Notes to editors

“The Pandemic’s Unequal Impacts on Global Garment Supply Chains” is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center, the Worker Rights Consortium and the Global Reporting Center at UBC.

To view an embargoed copy of the report prior to publication, please contact the Media Relations Officer.

Main statistics of the report:

Of the 1019 respondents to our survey who are still working:

  • 35 percent reported verbal abuse
  • 34% reported threats and / or intimidation
  • 22 reported unfair payroll deductions or deductions
  • 19 reported that access to things such as water and toilets was restricted
  • 39% said they were forced to work in an environment with a lack of PPE and Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing

Among those whose contracts were terminated during the pandemic:

  • Almost 80 percent have not received part or all of their severance pay
  • More than a third found themselves forced to take new work for lower pay, less job security and more danger
  • 68 percent of workers did not have a contract with their new job

University of Sheffield

With nearly 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the world’s top academics, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, university staff and students are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to be listed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for 2018 and over the past eight years it has been ranked among the top five UK universities for student satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Laureates among former staff and students, and its alumni hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and customers include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as numerous UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The Center for Policy and Evidence on Modern Slavery and Human Rights

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center (Modern Slavery PEC) was established with the investment of public funds to enhance understanding of modern slavery and transform the effectiveness of law and policies designed for it. avoid. With high-quality research it commands at its core, the Center brings together academics, policymakers, business, civil society, survivors and the public on a scale never seen before in the UK to collaborate on the resolution of this global challenge.

The Center is a consortium of six academic organizations led by the Bingham Center for the Rule of Law and is funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Learn more about the Modern Slavery CEP at http: // www.modern slavery pec.organization.


Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labor rights monitoring organization based in Washington DC. The WRC conducts worker-centric surveys to assess working conditions in garment and textile factories around the world.

http: // www.workers’ rights.organization

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Praise and condemnation of the new Iranian president outright Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:23:00 +0000

June 19 (Reuters) – Here are some global reactions to Ebrahim Raisi’s election as Iranian president. Raisi, 60, is a hard-line judge loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and subject to US sanctions for alleged human rights violations. Read more


“The election of Raisi is, I would say, the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear deal, and to understand who they are dealing with … A brutal executioner regime must never be. allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. ” Bennett was talking to Cabinet.


“Relations between our countries are traditionally friendly and good neighborly. I hope that your activities in this high post will contribute to the further development of constructive bilateral cooperation in various directions, as well as partnership in international affairs. fully in the interests of the Russian and Iranian peoples, goes in the direction of strengthening regional security and stability, “Putin said in a message to Raisi, according to the Kremlin.


Assad wished Raisi success “for the good and interest of the Iranian people, unwavering in the face of all plans and pressures aimed at breaking their will and undermining their independent decision,” according to a statement from the Syrian presidency.


“Stating my conviction that cooperation between our two countries will be strengthened during your presidency, I am ready to work with you,” Erdogan said in a letter sent to Raisi.


“We wish the Islamic Republic and our bilateral relations stability, continuity and prosperity,” he said in a statement tweeted by the Dubai Media Office.


Sent a congratulatory message, according to state news agency WAM.


Congratulated Raisi on his victory, Oman’s official news agency ONA reported.


Sent a message to Raisi “wishing him success and further development and growth of relations between the two countries,” the state news agency QNA said.


Sent a message to Raisi, “wishing him more success and well-being, as well as the friendly Islamic Republic to continue to progress and prosper,” according to the state news agency KUNA.

MUSTAFA AL-KADHIMI, THE Iraqi Prime Minister congratulated Raisi by phone, according to a Tweet from the Prime Minister’s office, and expressed his hopes for increased cooperation on economic and security issues “in addition to the fight against terrorism , and in a way that enhances the security and stability of both countries and the region. “


“I send you my sincere congratulations and blessings on your election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran … We in Iraq look forward to strengthening our strong relationship with our neighbor Iran and its people.”


“The Iranian authorities paved the way for Ebrahim Raisi to become president through repression and an unfair election. As the head of Iran’s repressive justice system, Raisi has overseen some of the most heinous crimes in recent Iranian history, which deserve investigation and accountability rather than election to high office. . “


“The fact that Ebrahim Raisi took the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme. master in Iran. We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and current crimes under international law, including by states exercising universal jurisdiction. “


“Ebrahim Raisi, the henchman of the 1988 massacre and the murderer of the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI / MEK), is Khamenei’s latest attempt to preserve his regime. Weak, in crisis and shaken by impending uprisings, Khamenei has purged all his rivals to install Raisi as president, one of the vilest criminals against humanity since WWII. “


Sent a congratulatory message to Raisi on his victory, al-Masirah TV reported.


“We congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran on the success of the democratic process, the holding of the presidential election and the victory of Ebrahim Raisi as President of Iran. We wish the Islamic Republic of Iran progress and prosperity Iran has always been a fundamental country and a true supporter of the Palestinian cause and Palestinian resistance. “


“Once again, the Iranian people reiterated their commitment to the path of revolution and its regime. We congratulate the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran on this great achievement.

Report by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; John Irish in Paris Writing by Maayan Lubell Editing by Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Who is Ebrahim Raisi? Die-hard judge set to win 2021 Iranian presidential election Sat, 19 Jun 2021 09:09:00 +0000

Iranian chief justice Ebrahim Raisi was due to win the country’s presidential election on Saturday morning, after the remaining candidates in the race conceded, including his politically moderate main challenger.

Many Iranians feel sidelined by Iran’s authoritarian religious establishment. Millions of people boycotted the elections. The country’s election watchdog, the Guardian Council, disqualified nearly all non-conservative candidates ahead of the vote, narrowing choice among moderates and reformists while deepening the apathy of potential voters.

Mr Raisi appears poised to take over as Iran and the United States negotiate terms to revive the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, which the Trump administration broke in 2018 before reimposing tough economic sanctions . Iran’s foreign policy, especially its relationship with Washington, is determined by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, but the country’s president can set the tone with the nation’s friends and adversaries.

The polls leading up to the vote showed Ebrahim Raisi far ahead of his rivals.


wana news agency / Reuters

Who is Ebrahim Raisi?

Mr Raisi, a conservative judge, was the favorite before the vote. The 60-year-old clergyman lacks political experience but has a long career in the justice system, earning him a reputation as a hard-line supporter with little patience for political dissent.

With around 90% of the votes counted, the Home Office said Mr Raisi received 17.8 million votes, or around 62% of the votes cast. Final results were expected later on Saturday. Mr. Raisi lost the last elections to Mr. Rouhani in 2017, before being appointed head of Iranian justice two years later.

A consensual candidate for Iranian hardliners, Mr. Raisi has close ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and a decades-long relationship with Mr. Khamenei. He is known for his role on a 1988 commission that sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death. Mr. Raisi has also presided over mass imprisonments of journalists, political activists and dual nationality, including Americans.

Mr Raisi provided few details on his political program, whether on the economy, domestic policy or foreign affairs. Although he is not opposed to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with world powers, his administration is expected to pivot Iran’s foreign policy towards Russia and China to the detriment of diplomacy with the West, a position that the supreme leader has long favored.

Abdolnaser Hemmati has sought to convince voters that he is the best-equipped candidate to improve Iran’s economy.


wana news agency / Reuters

Who is Abdolnaser Hemmati?

The only non-conservative candidate in the race, Abdolnaser Hemmati, a former banker and insurance regulator, also has limited political experience. But the 64-year-old is closely associated with the administration of Mr. Rouhani, who in 2018 appointed him first ambassador to China, then head of the central bank.

Mr. Hemmati had marked the middle ground in Iranian politics, posing as a pro-reform moderate who seeks to improve Iran’s foreign relations, including with the West, and grant the Iranians more freedoms. social and political.

After chairing the central bank at a time when Iran was going through a severe economic crisis, but did not completely collapse under US sanctions, Mr. Hemmati said he was the only candidate with the insight and experience needed to repair Iran’s struggling economy.

To force a second round, Mr. Hemmati had to convince millions of disillusioned Iranians to move to prevent his outright opponent from winning 50% of the vote.

Mr. Hemmati got around 8% of the vote, according to preliminary results. He congratulated Mr. Raisi on his victory on Instagram, saying: “I hope your new administration will be a source of pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

What was the participation?

Iran’s interior ministry said on Saturday morning that 28.6 million voters participated in the elections, which equates to a historically low turnout of 48%. Polls ahead of Friday’s vote had predicted an even lower turnout, but on election day, many voters arrived late at polling stations, prompting authorities to extend voting hours until 2 hours of the morning. The last presidential election in 2017 recorded a turnout of 73%.

Iran’s clergy-led establishment has traditionally touted high voter turnout as proof of its popularity, but this year the spokesperson for the election watchdog said a potential low turnout would not hurt the election. legitimacy of the system. A high turnout has historically increased the chances of non-conservative candidates, as reformists are more likely to stay at home to protest the political establishment and its restrictions on the electoral process.

Mr Khamenei called on the Iranians to vote to strengthen the system when he voted early on Friday. “Every vote counts,” the Supreme Leader said in televised remarks. “Today belongs to the people. Going to the polls and voting helps build the future.

Revolutionary Guard veteran Mohsen Rezaei has become a regular in Iran’s presidential elections.


Morteza Fkharinazhad / Associated press

Who else was on the ballot?

Mohsen Rezaei, a former Revolutionary Guard commander known for his inflammatory remarks against Iran’s rivals in the region, has run for the presidency for the fourth time. He has been wanted by Interpol since 2007 for his alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires.

Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi is a lawmaker and former member and spokesperson for the far-right Islamic Revolution Stability Front party, which supports Mr. Raisi’s candidacy. Mr. Ghazizadeh-Hashemi has a limited public profile and polls in single digits.

What are the main challenges of this election?

For most Iranians, the main concern is economic hardship. US sanctions imposed since 2018 have exacerbated an already severe economic crisis. Inflation and unemployment are rampant and the local currency, the rial, has fallen in value, hitting local households. Many Iranians have said they will either vote for the candidate with the best solution to the economic crisis or refuse to vote because no candidate has a convincing answer.

Another major problem is foreign relations and national security. The vote came amid heightened regional tensions, especially with Israel, which Tehran accuses of carrying out attacks on its nuclear facilities and a high-profile assassination of a high-profile nuclear scientist last year. Israel declined to comment on the allegations.

Meanwhile, Iran and the United States are currently trying to agree on terms via indirect talks in Vienna to save the 2015 nuclear deal. Many Iranians had hoped the deal would bring some level of peace. economic prosperity and international business opportunities.

Iranians concerned about the state of human rights in the country also fear that a victory for Mr. Raisi will worsen conditions for dissidents and political activists and further hamper freedom of expression.

How has Iran been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Iran was the first country in the Middle East to be hit hard by the pandemic. The official number of infections has exceeded three million in a population of around 83 million, causing nearly 83,000 deaths. Covid-19 has also contributed to Iran’s economic slump, pushing more families into poverty.

Iran has so far vaccinated some 4.5 million people, or about 5% of the population, with a single dose.

The pandemic also limited the size of electoral rallies, although some violated health protocols. This prompted Iran’s interior ministry to increase the number of voting booths for Friday’s vote across the country. Ballots were placed in outdoor spaces where possible.

What does the election mean for US-Iranian relations?

Iran’s foreign policy is determined by Mr. Khamenei and the Supreme National Security Council, not the government.

However, the president can set the tone for Iran’s international relations and help influence the Supreme Leader. He sits on the Supreme National Security Council, of which he also appoints certain members. Individual members of a government can also establish good working relationships with foreign officials, as was the case with outgoing Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and then Secretary of State John Kerry.

While Mr. Hemmati said he would work to improve Iran’s diplomatic and trade relations with other countries, including the United States, Mr. Raisi should look more to China and Russia, to the detriment improving relations with Washington.

Following news that the United States is prepared to resume nuclear talks with Iran in the coming weeks, WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains a tactic that could revive diplomacy between the two countries. Photographic illustration: Laura Kammermann

What are the prospects for the Iran nuclear deal?

All matters of national security are also determined by the Supreme Leader, who endorsed the Rouhani government’s negotiations with six world powers that led to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Both Mr Raisi and Mr Hemmati have said they support the deal, and a change in presidency should not change Tehran’s position in the ongoing talks in Vienna, where Iranian and US negotiators are in the process of negotiating. negotiate a deal that brings Washington back to the deal. in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Longer term, a Raisi presidency is likely to pose challenges to Western diplomacy and could complicate President Biden’s goal of negotiating a broader and more comprehensive security deal with Iran. US wants to limit Iran’s conventional missile arsenal and seeks to reduce the footprint of Iranian-backed militias across the Middle East, both of whom threaten Israel and, Washington says, are stirring up unrest In the region. Iran has so far refused to discuss these issues with the United States.

Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at

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Saul B. Cohen, who helped raise CUNY standards, dies at 95 Fri, 18 Jun 2021 18:11:35 +0000

Saul B. Cohen, who helped restore higher academic standards at the City University of New York as president of Queens College and as a member of the State Board of Regents and revitalized his own field of political geography, is died on June 9 at his home in Larchmont, NY He was 95 years old.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Miriam F. Cohen.

After a controversial selection process ended with his appointment as head of Queens College in 1978, Dr Cohen began transforming the college’s education and music departments into full schools. He began construction of a science building and campus library in the Flushing section of Queens; created a law school; extensive master’s programs in 25 fields; and, in collaboration with the Board of Education, reestablished Townsend Harris High School, which had been affiliated with City College when Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia closed it down in 1942 after complaining that it was too elitist.

Dr Cohen also imposed more rigorous academic goals and remedial programs. In 1999, as a member of the Board of Regents, he negotiated a compromise that all but ended the so-called open admissions policy, widely discredited, which guaranteed all high school graduates entry into the class. freshman at one of City University’s senior colleges. without having to meet traditional requirements such as grades or exams.

Those who had defended the program pointed to the gains in enrollment and diversity. But critics, including Gov. George E. Pataki, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Herman Badillo, chairman of the CUNY board, retorted that up to two-thirds of freshmen who enrolled in senior colleges in the early 1970s had left in the four years without a degree, and that politics, however well-intentioned, had downgraded the value of a city college degree.

As chairman of the Regents’ higher education committee, Dr Cohen struck an agreement after nearly three decades that allowed City University to begin excluding incoming freshmen from its bachelor’s degree programs if they didn’t. ‘were unable to demonstrate willingness to start university-level work in Mathematics and English.

Instead, students who were accepted into bachelor’s degree programs at four-year senior colleges but failed math or English proficiency tests would be diverted to City University’s two-year community colleges. or towards immersion programs that would prepare them for university. level courses.

The public university, in particular, “must develop among its students a thirst for intellectual pursuit and a respect for academic rigor,” said Dr Cohen upon re-entering Queens College in 1984, a year before leaving office. of president. “He should not hang out with the students he gave the opportunity to learn, allowing them to get through.

Dr. Cohen himself earned a C in his first official geography course, during a summer program at Harvard after graduating from high school. But he went on to earn three degrees and became the executive director of the Association of American Geographers and a leading expert in political and human geography – a specialty area that explores the impact of natural and arbitrary boundaries, territory, resources and populations over the life of a nation. cultural, social and economic development, as well as its relations with other countries.

Credit…Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Prior to being appointed President of Queens College, Dr Cohen was Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. It has gained a reputation for improving the academic standards of the school and increasing minority enrollment.

He has written or edited 16 books, including “Geography and Politics in a World Divided” (1963) and recent editions of “Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations”.

Saul Bernard Cohen was born July 28, 1925 in Malden, Massachusetts, north of Boston, to Barnett and Annie (Kaplinsky) Cohen, Hebrew teachers who as teenagers had immigrated separately from the Vilna area of ​​the current Lithuania.

The family moved to Dorchester so that he could attend the prestigious Boston Latin School. After attending Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., And three months into his freshman year at Harvard, he enlisted in the military. It served from 1943 to 1946 with a demolition unit in Europe during World War II.

Credit…via the Cohen family

He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in geography in 1947 and went on to earn a master’s degree in 1950 and a doctorate in 1955.

He married Miriam Friederman in 1950. Besides his wife, he is survived by their two daughters, Deborah Shmueli and Louise Cohen; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Dr Cohen taught at Boston University before joining Clark Faculty in 1965. After leaving Queens College in 1985, he served as Director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an international humanitarian organization, and was professor of geography at Hunter College in Manhattan. , also part of the City University. He was a member of the Council of Regents for 17 years.

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donors pledge emergency aid to struggling Lebanese army | Voice of America Thu, 17 Jun 2021 20:57:05 +0000

PARIS – International donors on Thursday pledged tens of millions of dollars in emergency aid to help support the struggling Lebanese army, a key institution for the stability of the country which lacks basic commodities, including food. From Paris, Lisa Bryant has more for VOA on the meeting, hosted by France and Italy.]]

The donations were made during a virtual meeting organized by France and Italy. A French government statement, released after the talks, said support for the Lebanese military would be aimed at meeting basic human and maintenance needs and would not replace essential reforms the country needs.

An army spokeswoman told VOA aid would go to things like food, fuel and medical supplies and would be released within weeks or months.

Since 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value against the US dollar. In addition, the government plans to cut subsidies on key products like fuel and food.

Heiko Wimmen, director of the Lebanon project at the Crisis Group Institute for International Policy, said that “ordinary soldiers who made the equivalent of $ 1,000 a month, or so, now earn the equivalent of $ 100 because that prices have increased considerably “.

“Basically,” he added, “the soldiers are hungry. And the budget the military has to buy anything – to buy spare parts, to buy everything it needs for its day-to-day business – those budgets have become completely meaningless.

Above the fight

For Lebanon and the donor community, the funding would support one of the few institutions remaining above the country’s deep divisions. Army chief Joseph Aoun, who recently visited Paris, said the military has been forced to look to allies for survival.

University of Geneva international relations professor Hasni Abidi said that for the international community the implications of letting the Lebanese army collapse were too great. A failing army means a failing state, a struggling population and a victory for Iran-backed Hezbollah, the military group dominating the power structure in Lebanon. The army is also securing Lebanon’s border with Israel.

The Lebanese economy began to collapse in 2019, after years of political corruption and mismanagement. French President Emmanuel Macron has visited the country several times and led international aid efforts, including this one. But he also sharply criticized his political leaders for failing to carry out key reforms.

The problem with Thursday’s meeting, analysts said, was that it offered only an interim solution.

“But the alternative is to say, ‘OK, okay, let it all fall apart and crash and let it burn’ … to finally force those [political] players to cope with the music, ”said Wimmen of the International Crisis Group. “This is of course a big bet. We have seen in the region what the collapse of the state can mean. “

Once divided along sectarian lines during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, the military has recovered to become a unifying force that is one of the most professional in the Middle East.

The military’s largest foreign donor, the United States, has pledged to increase its support this year.

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Biden seeks “stable” relations with Russia in triangle with China Wed, 16 Jun 2021 23:48:00 +0000

NEW YORK / GENEVA / MOSCOW – US President Joe Biden held his first summit in Geneva on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, agreeing to put in place new frameworks for dialogue on arms control and cybersecurity.

The two sides also agreed to allow their respective ambassadors to resume their functions.

For Biden, who entered in hopes of building a “stable and predictable” relationship, it was a first step towards easing tensions with a traditional American rival in order to focus his energy on the new strategic competitor. , China.

Biden and Putin noted in a joint statement that the two countries, even in times of tension, “are able to move forward on our common goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflict and the threat of nuclear war. “

“We reaffirm the principle that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” they said.

The two sides will jointly engage in an integrated bilateral “strategic stability dialogue” in the near future “which will be deliberate and robust,” they said. “Through this dialogue, we seek to lay the foundations for future arms control and risk reduction measures,” they said in a short three-paragraph statement.

US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attend the US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland. © Reuters

The face-to-face meeting was initiated by Biden and marked the first summit between the leaders of the two countries in three years.

Russia, in terms of national power, is no longer the formidable rival of the United States, the Soviet Union. For Putin, meeting Biden offers an opportunity to project Moscow’s presence on the international stage to the national and foreign public and helps to strengthen its political foothold in his country.

Biden told reporters after the summit that he and Putin “share the unique responsibility of managing the relationship between two powerful and proud countries – a relationship that must be stable and predictable,” adding that they should be able to cooperate where it’s possible. their mutual benefit.

But the two leaders spoke at separate press conferences – a departure from the usual common pressures from the leaders of the United States and the countries with which they are friends, and from previous U.S. President Donald Trump with Putin in Helsinki.

US-Russian relations have been widely described, including by the two leaders, as being at their post-Cold War low. Washington is imposing various active sanctions on Moscow, including for interference in the US elections, cyber attacks threatening US infrastructure, human rights violations and its invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

Biden also initiated the summit – which took place early in his presidency – despite historically low American public opinion of Russia following the poisoning of Russian opposition leader and activist Alexei Navalny, to which the Kremlin denies having played a role.

The American leader told reporters that “the last thing [Putin] now wants is a cold war “with Washington, characterizing Russia’s position as one where it has a border of several thousand miles with China, which aspires to become the largest economy with the most powerful military in the world, and where Russia’s own economy is struggling.

“Russia is in a very, very difficult situation right now,” Biden said before boarding Air Force One to return home. “They are in a hurry by China. They desperately want to remain a great power.”

Putin, in his own press conference, called the summit “constructive” and said he saw it as a “silver lining” for mutual trust with the United States. But he said it remains to be seen whether relations with Washington improve.

Last week, the Kremlin chief said that Russia and China had developed a hitherto unprecedented strategic partnership, as well as “a high level of trust and cooperation in all fields: in politics, in economy, in the field of technology, in the field of military and technical cooperation.

“We don’t think China is a threat to us. It is,” Putin told NBC in an interview.

“China is a friendly nation,” he said. “He did not declare us an enemy, like the United States did.”

Responding to Putin’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press conference on Tuesday that “indeed, China and Russia are united as a mountain, and our friendship is indestructible “.

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One in Geneva after the US-Russia summit. © Reuters

“The two countries have stood firmly behind each other on matters concerning the fundamental interests of the other, and the mutual political trust and strategic coordination between the two has been continuously consolidated and improved,” Zhao said.

The Biden-Putin summit, although a potential concern for Beijing, is a welcome development for India, which has an increasingly strong partnership with Washington – including through its membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – but shares also defense links with Russia.

“And although India may be particularly enthusiastic about the idea of ​​a US-Russian detente, it is not alone in Asia,” wrote C. Raja Mohan, director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Asians from the National University of Singapore, in an article on pre-summit foreign policy.

“Many others in the region believe that an independent Russian role will create more leeway for themselves in the emerging confrontation between China and the United States,” Mohan argued.

Wednesday’s summit, which was also attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, lasted more than three hours but ended earlier than expected. A senior US official denied that the talks ended early.

Biden said the meeting was already long for a summit between two world leaders and they went into “excruciating detail” in their conversation. The tone of the whole meeting was “good, positive”.

“I did what I came to do,” he said: identifying areas of practical work to advance mutual interests; communicate directly that the United States will respond to actions that undermine its vital interests or those of its allies, and will clearly articulate American priorities and values.

“Another area we spent a lot of time on was cybersecurity and cybersecurity,” he said. by any other means. “

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Minimizing the special relationship is a gift for the EU and the left Wed, 16 Jun 2021 05:00:00 +0000

Boris Johnson’s aversion to the term special relationship to Britain’s ties to the United States, because he thinks it makes the UK look “needy”, is bizarre. It plays into the hands of the left, which has been mocking and denying the very concept of a special relationship for years, and contradicting the real experience of Anglo-American relations since even before Boris’ hero Winston Churchill did invents the expression in its iron curtain. speech given in Fulton, Missouri, three quarters of a century ago, in March 1946.

Equally bizarrely, Boris contradicts the Queen, who said at the State Banquet during President George W Bush’s 2003 State Visit, “Despite occasional criticism of the term, I think it describes our friendship. Like all special friends, we can speak openly and may disagree from time to time – sometimes even falling out on a particular issue. But the depth and breadth of our partnership means that disputes can be quickly overcome and forgiven. “

It is always dangerous to prophesy anything in international relations, but I predict that at the end of Boris’ tenure as Prime Minister, which I hope will be of record duration, something will happen that will rekindle her clearly waning belief in the special relationship. His obituary has been written so many times over the past three quarters of a century, but events constantly revive and underline what His Majesty has called “the depth and breadth of our partnership.”

Right now, the impertinent and unwarranted approach the US Embassy has made to the UK government about the Northern Ireland Protocol – on the eve of the G7 summit, all the inappropriate times – shows precisely how friends specials can “fall out to publish.” For a country that has lost as many as 700,000 of its own citizens in a civil war over whether it should remain unified now to encourage Ulster to be alienated in the trade from the rest of the UK is obtuse, but as special friends “we can speak frankly and may disagree from time to time”.

There will come a time in Biden’s presidency when he will notice the same truth that almost all presidents recognize at some point: that Britain can be trusted in a big business the same way France can, l ‘Germany and other allies cannot. And when Britain isn’t next to America – like Vietnam – it’s usually because the effort isn’t as great as it seemed at the time. Even Barack Obama, who began his presidency as a lover of Great Britain, in 2011 raised a toast “To Her Majesty the Queen, to the vitality of the privileged relations between our peoples”.

Likewise, Boris will undoubtedly discover – especially in a post-Brexit world where China and Russia are becoming increasingly brazen and threatening – that there is nothing necessary to rely on the countries of Anglosphere which most closely resemble Britain in terms of law, language and common history, including the United States.

Unlike the European NATO countries, virtually none of which reach the 2% of GDP devoted to defense to which they have committed, the United States spends more than 5%, and is the bulwark that protects us from the rise. of totalitarianism in the world today. There’s a difference between needing something and being in need, and Britain is on the right side of that divide, but we need the United States, and they need us.

With Germany on the Russian Nordstream 2 pipeline, which the United States has given up on sanctioning, or President Macron saying the EU should be “equidistant” between the United States and China, Biden will admit, as almost all of his predecessors have done with the exception of Lyndon Johnson. , that Britain is a much better ally than any of the alternatives available. The sheer volume of our mutual trade, the interplay of our nuclear cooperation and intelligence agencies, the sheer “depth and breadth of our partnership” outweighs any left-wing fantasy of our appearance “in the need ”.

At a time when Liz Truss is making superb post-Brexit trade deals such as the recent one with Australia, highlighting the continued strength of the Anglosphere and the enormous benefits of freer and easier trade between English-speaking countries, he is strange that Boris should downplay the special relationship. Bright days are yet to come, but also maybe days of testing as Vladimir Putin is on the loose and President Xi prepares for at least regional domination.

As a biographer of Churchill himself, Boris will be well acquainted with Churchill’s words in the Iron Curtain Speech 75 years ago. “Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continued rise of world organization will be achieved without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. It signifies a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. The Empire is gone, but the special relationship continues, not only for the sake of the people of Britain and America, but also for the sake of mankind. No need, but necessary.

Andrew Roberts is the author of ‘Churchill: Walking with Destiny’

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UK, Australia Reach First Post-Brexit Free Trade Agreement | International trade news Tue, 15 Jun 2021 10:54:16 +0000

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deal marked a “new dawn” in relations between the UK and its former colony.

The UK and Australia announced a new trade deal on Tuesday, the first such deal the UK has negotiated from scratch since leaving the European Union.

The pact, which will eliminate tariffs and red tape, has been hailed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “a new dawn” in relations between the two countries.

Johnson’s Conservative Party government sees the deal as an important part of its post-Brexit strategy to move the country’s economic hub away from Europe and seek new opportunities in the higher-growing Indo-Pacific countries.

Previous agreements with other countries, including Japan, were based on existing agreements reached by the bloc of 27 members.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Johnson overcame sticking points in discussions after the G7 meetings in the UK, which Morrison attended as a guest.

The UK said the deal would mean products such as cars, Scotch whiskey, cookies and ceramics would be cheaper to sell to Australia, a former British colony.

It will also allow UK citizens under 35 to travel and work in Australia more freely.

In the other direction, the agreement will eliminate tariffs on Australian products such as wine, swimwear and confectionery imported into the UK.

“Today marks a new dawn in UK relations with Australia, supported by our shared history and common values,” Johnson said in a statement.

“This is global Britain at its best – looking outward and making deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country rebuilds itself better after the pandemic. “

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab tweeted that the deal is “an important stepping stone” in efforts to join a free trade area in the Indo-Pacific region – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The UK is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner and Australia’s 20th-largest, with two-way trade worth A $ 26.9 billion ($ 20.7 billion).

Before the UK joined the then European Common Market in 1973, it was Australia’s most lucrative commercial market.

‘New opportunities’

While further details on the deal have yet to be released, some official estimates indicate that the deal could add £ 500million ($ 705.7million) to Britain’s long-term economic output – a fraction for an economy worth about two trillion pounds ($ 2.8 trillion).

The deal will be scrutinized by British farmers, who fear being forced into bankruptcy if the deal eliminates tariffs on imports of lamb and beef from Australia.

The UK said UK farmers would be protected by a cap on duty-free imports for 15 years, using tariff quotas and other guarantees.

Australian Trade Minister David Littleproud told 4BC Radio that the deal marked a “victory for Australian agriculture”.

The Australian economy, however, is already oriented towards Asia.

“This free trade agreement is more about symbolism than immediately tangible material benefits,” said Ben Wellings, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Monash University.

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Trudeau pledges support for Ukraine, mother supports next step in NATO membership Sun, 13 Jun 2021 22:36:00 +0000

BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting with Canada reiterating his broad support for Ukraine, but not whether he will back a move by Kiev to join the military alliance amid tensions with Russia.

The federal government said last week that Canada would continue to help address security threats in the region, but did not go so far as to say that it would lend its unwavering support to the pressure from the ‘Ukraine for NATO membership at the summit.

Ukraine’s call to join NATO precedes this week’s first face-to-face meeting in Geneva between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, after years of strained relations between Moscow and Western countries.

Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, alleged Russian interference in the US elections and allegations that the Kremlin was behind the hacking campaign from SolarWinds have all helped to escalate the tensions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly lobbied to join the military alliance, raising the issue recently in separate talks with Trudeau and Biden.

A reading from the prime minister’s office said Trudeau and Zelensky discussed Russia’s actions and “underscored Canada’s continued support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations” during their meeting last Tuesday.

When specifically asked if Canada maintains Ukraine has a NATO membership action plan, a spokeswoman for Trudeau said there was nothing to add.

Earlier, Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a specific question about Ukraine’s membership in NATO, saying Canada “remains steadfast in its support for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as to the Ukrainian people ”. He also noted that the allies decided at the 2008 summit that Ukraine will eventually “join” the organization.

The Canadian government has in the past advocated Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed Canada’s “strong support” for the move, praising Ukraine’s democratic reforms and the two countries’ shared values.

At the time, Harper called on leaders to accept that Ukraine be allowed to move forward in the accession process and pledged that Canada would support the candidacy, as long as “the country continues to make progress in democratic reform and ‘opening up of its economy’.

The party still shares that view, a spokesperson for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement.

Alexander Moens, director of the NATO field school and simulation program at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, says the problem is “we wish the Canadian government would talk a little more openly about it.” .

He highlighted the fact that there are a million people in Canada who are of Ukrainian descent, and noted that the country has supported Ukraine, including when it imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation. of Crimea in 2014.

But at the same time, says Moens, Canada knows it has to be sensitive.

“Ukraine’s membership in NATO could very well be a red line for Russia, which means a dangerous reaction from Russia, so there is a lot of caution on how to proceed,” he said. -he declares.

“The biggest problem here is not to worsen relations with Putin and at the same time not to discourage the Ukrainians.”

It’s worth seeing how NATO is handling the issue and whether it is moving any closer to Ukraine joining, he said, adding that the allies are likely to be cautious.

Allen Sens, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, believes the issue will be raised only out of politeness to Ukraine, but that it is largely “off the table.”

“I can’t imagine anything more provocative,” he said.

“It would be one of the most controversial and provocative dialogues NATO is having right now when there are so many other things this summit needs to address, there are so many other things that ‘NATO must do. “

These include advancing on new strategic planning priorities and modernization. Additionally, experts say the focus will be on tackling cybersecurity and information warfare, not to mention the challenges presented by Russia and more recently China.

They believe that a defining feature of this year’s summit will undoubtedly be a sense of renewal due to the absence of former US President Donald Trump, who has criticized the existence of NATO.

“Every NATO member will remember that Donald Trump called the alliance obsolete,” said Roland Paris, professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa.

“Joe Biden’s arrival at a NATO summit and expressing wholeheartedly the United States’ commitment to its allies will be a significant symbolic change.”

He added that “the legacy of the Trump years will continue in the sense that NATO members, especially NATO members in Europe, are aware that the United States produced Trump ΓǪ and could elect one again “.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 13, 2021.

With files from The Associated Press.

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