The Daily Update: Tuesday, April 19

April 19, 2011 by · Comments Off 

A 23-year-old exchange student is dead after being attacked in her dorm room. Her boyfriend witnessed it all via webcam. Wildfires continue to spread across Texas, and religious leaders are furious over Lady Gaga’s new single. All this and more on your Daily Update.

China Expert Joshua Cooper Ramo Speaks at Tate Lecture

February 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Brittany Levine
blevine@smu.edu

Joshua Cooper Ramo spoke at SMU’s Tate Lecture series Tuesday night. The packed McFarlin Auditorium audience listened as Ramo shared his expertise about China and what the future looks like for the country in a world that he says is getting more complex every day.

Ramo, managing director of Kissinger Associates and former TIME magazine senior editor, started the evening off with some laughs by sharing personal stories about Henry Kissinger. He joked about Kissinger’s lack of knowledge about Facebook and Blackberry phones, which Kissinger mistakenly called “Raspberries.” He introduced his topic by noting that this year marks the 40-year anniversary of Kissinger’s historic visit to China.

Ramo said it is “incredibly difficult” for the United States to establish the best possible relations with China, but throughout his presentation he remained optimistic that it could be achieved.

“It is overwhelmingly one of the most exciting places in the world to be,” he said about China, where he lives.
Ramo discussed obstacles that are a threat to China’s future. One of these threats is population imbalance. China is and will continue to find it increasingly difficult to have a society with so many more men than women. In addition, tens of millions of college students are graduating every year and need to find work. Other large issues include Tibet, the 150 million migrant workers, healthcare, and food safety.

High divorce rates are due in part to the rapidly changing society, Ramo said, which forces a different way of thinking. This year, China is expected to pass Brazil in terms of income inequality.

Ramo never let the lecture become too serious for too long. He gave a lesson on Chinese letters and made fun of his Chinese name. He made the audience laugh when he said, “It takes a bit of getting used to getting called Mr. Lei Mo everywhere.”

Ramo made a point of demonstrating how complex the Chinese are. “China has more networks now than when I started this speech. It will have more networks when I finish this speech.”

He discussed how much attention the Chinese pay to minor details, which been proven in eye tracking studies. The American Google homepage and the Chinese Google homepage show how much more information the Chinese are accustomed to processing. “There is a fundamentally different psychological landscape,” Ramo said.

Ramo emphasized how the western world and China have two very different ways of life and of thinking.
“I love the way of two different cultures looking at the same thing different ways,” said audience member Betty Carter.

“China is struggling to try to figure out how to adapt to the world,” said Ramo. He stressed that the U.S. needs to safeguard national interests and incorporate China into its future. He says the U.S. has not been able to do this well.

Ramo shared advice that he had once been given. He said that it is very important to not only be bilingual, but to be bicultural, as well. He made it clear that the relations between the United States and China are very important. Studies have shown that the world views China much more favorably than China views itself. He says that changing this is important to future success with the country.

Of the presentation, audience member Cecilia Wemheoner said, “It was all interesting because I just don’t know that much about China and it gave me the opportunity to learn more.”

Joshua Cooper Ramo Brings Pop Culture Humor to Tate Student Forum

February 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Bridget Bennett
brekow@smu.edu

Joshua Cooper Ramo walked on the stage of the Tate Student Forum Tuesday afternoon and stared out at an audience largely composed of area high school students. Ramo said the young audience was a nice change from his usual crowd, so he loosened his tie, removed his suit jacket and apologized that he did not have a Lady Gaga outfit to put on.

The Tate Student Forum is open to area high school and SMU students, faculty and staff. SMU junior and corporate communications major, Derek Hubbard, moderated the forum.

The questions at the Forum focused on Ramo’s areas of expertise: “China, International Relations, Journalism and the Caring Economy.”

Ramo spoke about international relations shaping the way everyone lives for many generations. He also expressed the importance of understanding other people and cultures to create a better global society.

“You want to expose yourselves to as many cultures as possible,” he said.

Several students asked questions involving China’s economy, public policy and human rights implications.

Ramo’s comments on China focused on the country’s changing political structure and economy. He said the Communist Party in China is very different today than it was 50 years ago.

Ramo talked about giving up one of his favorite hobbies, acrobatic flying, when he moved to China.

“The Chinese are not big fans of foreigners flying around in their airspace,” Ramo said. The coment received a big laugh from the audience.
But Ramo said that political reform may be slow in China, but it is clearly changing.

“The surface is generally irrelevant, it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that matters,” he said.

One high school student asked how American foreign policy could actually impact China’s policies, especially in regards to human rights violations.

Before answering the question, Ramo expressed his surprise at such a complex and important question coming from “a kid in an AC/DC T-shirt.” The student then pointed out that the T-shirt was actually an Academic Decathlon T-shirt, generating another laugh from the audience.

Ramo said the relationship between the U.S. and China is going to be strained when the U.S. wants to spend all of their time talking about an issue China does not want to talk about.

“We need to recognize that the process to get there has to be gradual,” Ramo said.

He also pointed out that China has lifted more than 415 million people out of poverty and is pressed with urbanizing a huge part of its population over the next few years.

Ramo also answered a question about American pride affecting foreign relations. Ramo said he believes it is inspiring that Americans are proud of our way of life, but said it can lead to some problems.

“Americans believe so strongly in our way of life, they think that everyone else wants to live that way, but that is not always the case,” Ramo said.

He told a story about a Middle Eastern woman he met as a journalist. The woman helped to lead a terrorist media network. During a casual conversation, she talked about her love of Brittany Spears and Madonna, but then talked about her greatest passion—the destruction of the United States.

“Many people think if we give the world more Brittany Spears and Madonna, people are going to like us,” Ramo said.

He explained that while international people may like some aspects of American culture, it doesn’t change their view of American politics.

Ramo also spoke about the importance of understanding a country’s culture and some historical context for good international reporting.

He touched on some of the reporting going on in Egypt right now and in the Middle East not meeting this journalistic standard.

“It takes years of experience to understand Arab culture,” Ramo said.

Several students asked questions about Ramo’s experience working at AIDS hospice in South Africa and his belief that everyone can change the world.

Ramo expressed the extreme impact his participation in AIDS hospice has had in his life and encouraged every student to participate in what he calls the Caring Economy.

“It’s about taking time out of your life to take care of someone outside of your family,” Ramo said.

He encouraged the students to find an area where they think it is possible to make a difference and start helping.

The Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 18

November 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

It’s a big day for news! New York representative charlie rangel awaits his sanctions for federal corruption charges, bird flu flys back into China, and the SMU Student Senate passes new legistaltion supporting undocumented students. Learn about all this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 18 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Sept. 29

September 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Sept. 29 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Find out more about the shooting at the University of Texas and get the chance to hear from someone who was at the scene of the shooting. Also learn why China is evacuating two thousand people and the latest terrorist threat on the Eiffel Tower.

Haass, Rubin, and Gergen Answer Questions at Tate Lecture Student Forum

September 15, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Marissa Belske
msbelske@smu.edu

SMU and local high school students gathered in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom Tuesday afternoon to ask respected political and foreign affair experts about pressing issues on the U.S. economy and international relations in the Middle East and China.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and David Gergen, a senior political commentator for CNN helped kick off the 29th season of the Tate Lecture Series by expressing the importance of U.S. international involvement in a down economy.

The Role of China and Latin America

The experts agreed that with today’s economy the U.S. needs a much broader range of partners. Haass said that a good relationship with China is vital to the future of the U.S.

“They stressed to me the point that the U.S. needs to become and stay allies with China to grow,” said SMU student Daniel Hux.

According to Gergen, China’s renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, at times promoting their economy at the expense of American jobs.

“They (China) are doing a lot of things which are in violation with international law to build up their economy and create these jobs,” said Gergen. “Places, like in Dublin, Massachusetts where there is a renewable energy company, are now shutting down and moving its jobs to China.”

“It surprised me to hear that China has gotten into renewable energy,” said elementary schoolteacher Linda Giesen. “They are taking our jobs and that is scary.”

The experts agree that the U.S. needs to turn their attention to developing relationships with Latin America as well. Rubin says that 10 to 20 years down the road, the U.S. could face conflict in these regions for access to their natural resources.

“We have paid too little attention to Latin America for far too long,” said Gergen.

A Strong Home Front

The U.S. economy was on the minds of all the experts. Haass was especially passionate about the importance of improving the American economy before creating international commitments.

“The most important thing I would say is we need to be strong at home if we are going to be strong abroad,” said Haass. “We are accumulating debt at an alarming rate which leaves us vulnerable. We need to restore again the economic foundations of our might.”

Gergen joked that all students should take history while in college to learn from previous mistakes. While America faces threats from abroad, he says that the America’s biggest threat comes from within.

“I cannot remember a time when our problems have seemed so big and our capacity to solve them have been this small,” said Gergen.

The Future of the Middle East

The experts touched on Iran and the growing threat there due to their economic challenges. Haass said that today Iran is developing nuclear weapons in laboratories and that it is hard to predict what will happen next.

“The question in Iran is what is the timeline of political change in comparison to the timeline of their nuclear development,” said Haass.

While the experts are hopeful that the issues will resolve themselves in the Middle East, they say problems will not be resolved anytime soon.

“The basic message is stay tuned,” said Gergen. “I think almost everything we have said today is stay tuned.”

Although the subject matter of the afternoon was serious, SMU Student Haz said that the student forum was both entertaining and enlightening.

“They are passionate about what they do and it is good to know that we have people out there that are trying to help fix what’s going on here.”
For more information on the speakers visit the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series website. The next Tate Student Forum will be held Tuesday, October 5th and will feature Inventor Ray Kurzweil.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, March 23

March 23, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Read more

Campus News Blog: International Students

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kathryn Sharkey

I don’t know if it’s because I recently returned from studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, that I’m just more aware now, or if this is actually the case, but it seems like there are more and more international students on campus.

When I walk to class, I always end up near students speaking Spanish, Italian, or with thick Eastern European accents. This didn’t happen three years ago when I was a first year student.

I decided to look and see what SMU’s statistics are for international students. The SMU website states that “more than 850 international students from 90 countries attend SMU.”

The top countries that undergraduate students came from in the fall of 2009 were: India, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Republic of South Korea, United Kingdom, El Salvador, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan, Panama, and Sweden, according to the office of institutional research.

What does SMU do to help these students mix with and meet Americans? It can be overwhelming to live and study in a country so drastically different from your own.

In Denmark, we had the choice to participate in a program where we were matched with a Dane and we would meet at least once a week to just do whatever. The students who participated all enjoyed it, saying it was cool to see the country with a guide who knew where to go and what was worth seeing.

I don’t know if that kind of program would work at SMU, but it might help international students cope with the culture shock.

Global News Blog: Swine Flu Reaches Globally as China Prepares for Worst

April 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Medley Buttermore

Talk about global communications. The Swine influenza epidemic has now reached many regions all over the world causing schools all over the country to close their doors and turn thousands of students away from school. This type of global spread is unique because it is the first time we are seeing the global spread of a virus in real time. China, like the rest of the world, is trying to handle this epidemic in the best way possible.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and other state leaders have stepped up prevention and control measures since Tuesday to cope with the current situation. The President has also sent a message to his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderón to express sympathy for the families of the victims who have already fallen to swine flu according to a China Daily article. This type of global spread is unlike any other and has spread without the help of technology. Usually this world wide spread is due thanks to twitter and other social networking sites spreading information globally.

However, even though this world wide epidemic did not spread with the aid of technology that could just be the saving grace to help control and maintain the illness and the further damage it may cause. With the help of technology and other global communications other parts of the world are better informed about the spread of the virus and this can help contain the situation and end panic all over the globe.

Global News Blog: Barbie is Looking for Love in Shanghai

April 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashlee Rivalto

Mattel recently opened the world’s first Barbie super store in Shanghai according to BBC. The store has six floors and includes a Barbie throne and photo booth, Barbie dress-up runway, manicurist, café, ice cream bar and over 875 Barbie dolls.

After devastating holiday sales and rough economic times the toy manufacturer started a worldwide campaign to increase sales. After researching cities all over the world, Shanghai was chosen as the new home for the Barbie Mega Store.

Mattel has recently cut 1,000 jobs and raised prices on spring toys in order to boost sales in 2010 according to a News Daily article. Overall toy sales in the United States fell 3 percent in 2008. Some say the recession is causing parents to spend less on toys but what about the child’s say in all this? Generation Z—children born between 1995 & 2010—is said to be a generation of consumers who have a strong hold on their parents’ wallets. Is this decline due to parents or to a child’s lack of interest in Barbie and other non-technological toys of the olden days?

The opening of the store in Shanghai marks the beginning of Barbie’s 50th birthday bash and some may say she has hit a mid-life crisis. Is Barbie becoming old news? According to a recent study in Australia conducted by child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, little girls between the ages of six and seven are already dumping their Barbies for “more sophisticated gadgets.” Carr-Gregg says there is an “up-aging” syndrome in Generation Z that is fueled by competitive parents pushing their child to be more mature, dress fashionable, and “discard play that did not appear to have an educational benefit.”

“Educational benefit” means new techno toys. The “edutainment” toy industry is one of the fastest growing segments in the overall toy industry caused by Generation Zs comfort with the digital world. Is this showing that children are moving away from the toys of the past and into the future of technology and increased brain power? Scary thought.

If you ask me, I am rooting for Barbie. But will this Barbie wonder world work wonders on Mattel’s financials? Only time can tell. As the number of Barbie fans continues to shrink, her best bet is making new friends. Mattel believes Shanghai is a good place to start since wealth is growing and Chinese consumers are looking to spend money on new experiences and products.

The company hopes to instill a love for Barbie in Chinese girls at a young age and create faithful Barbie consumers who will one day be richer than their parents once were. Mattel sees the Barbie store is an “investment in the future.”

But is this a smart investment? Should Barbie be looking for friends in China or should she make new friends with technology in order to win the hearts of young girls around the world?

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