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University of Denver

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies is a leader among institutions of higher learning that prepare students for transnational careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Ranked by Foreign Policy magazine as #11 in the world for master’s degree programs of international affairs, the Josef Korbel School offers a customizable curriculum integrating practical and theoretical approaches to the study of our globalizing world.

Degree Programs

  • MA in Conflict Resolution
  • MA in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration
  • MA in International Administration
  • MA in International Development
  • MA in Human Rights
  • MA in International Security
  • MA in International Studies
  • MA in International Intercultural Communications
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Certificate in Global Business and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Certificate in Global Health Affairs
  • Certificate in Homeland Security
  • Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance
  • Certificate in Religion and International Affairs

University of Denver In The World

Job Openings

The Global Health Affairs Program at the Josef Korbel School seeks applicants for several adjunct faculty positions for AY 2016-2017

Category: Faculty/Scholar

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Upcoming Events

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**This event is now closed** Invited APSIA members will participate in an online discussion on working internationally and the benefits of obtaining a Masters Degree […]

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Populism is the rage. It’s on the cover of Foreign Affairs, the topic of politicians, columnists and faculty, and the apparent political trend resulting in Brexit, the Donald Trump victory, and numerous political movements and elections in Europe the last few years.

The word’s origin is mostly generic and can apply to a host of political movements, some right, some left, some benign and some ominous, but in today’s context the main features are anti-elitism and desire for a strong leader to ensure significant change. In Europe, it tends to be anti-EU, anti-immigrant and pro-Russia.

European political conversation has been dominated by talk of the sweep of populism from Poland and Hungary to Great Britain and Italy and most of the nations in between.

The year starts with the global conference in Davos where capitalists, globalists and free traders will try to account for the hostile environment. Chinese President Xi will be the ranking world leader, positioning himself and China as protectors of globalism. Conference session focuses on the dangers of anti-globalism and trade protectionism – elements in the current version of populism. Capitalism is on the defensive from the right and the left.

Italy’s pro-EU party of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lost a referendum in early December to reform the sclerotic Italian government. He resigned (Obama’s last state dinner was held for him) and the populist Five Star Movement is maneuvering to win an election likely to be called this year.

Great Britain
Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to begin its Brexit negotiations in March. There appears little consensus on how the process will work or the objective. But the anti-immigrant, nationalist fervor that led to the Brexit vote looms as a threat to the British establishment. She appears committed to a “hard” as opposed to a “soft” exit.

France faces an election in May that will likely bring a conservative to power, with the populist Marine Le Pen leading the largest anti-immigrant, anti-EU party in close pursuit of the center-right frontrunner, François Fillon. Both candidates take a friendly position toward Russia.

The German anti-immigrant right is still too weak to derail Chancellor Angela Merkel in the September German federal elections, but they have forced Merkel to move to the right on immigration. She is now the only voice of authority for European unity and continued sanctions on Russia.

America’s new foreign policy direction, apparently more in alignment with the anti-immigration, anti-EU, pro-Russian trends, is likely to influence the politics of the continent, if not the voters directly. But the potential significant impact of Trump’s presidency (such as Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn and others) on 2017 European politics is a story yet developing.

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The latest CNN poll asked Americans at the start of the new administration how they would rate some national and world leaders. The results should remind the new administration that there is a backdrop of attitudes positioning friends and foes that should be kept in mind as policies and tweets start to fly.

For example, at the bottom of the list of favored leaders are Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Raúl Castro and Xi Jinping. Claiming any one of these people a good friend and ally will be a lift.

The public loves the Queen and the Pope. They have a few detractors, both to the office and the person, but very few. Starting fights with them will be costly.

Many people don’t know Angela Merkel or Theresa May, but due to old alliances and respect for their actions, they have more than two-to-one favorability among the attentive public.

Donald Trump has a 44 percent favorability rating, higher than the mean of the eight foreign leaders. However, with near universal awareness, his unfavorability rating of 53 percent is near Raúl Castro’s.

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Barack Obama is doing his legacy tour. There are some high points; some may even survive his successor. But one decision sums up a series of mistakes that most harmed his foreign policy and produced a disastrous effect still being felt.

In August 2014, Obama backed away from a threat to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime for the use of chemical weapons against his population. From the moment the decision was announced, Obama’s credibility dropped with allies and adversaries, foreign and domestic.

The Situation Room announcement picture captures the disbelief among the president’s team, especially the responsible politicians – Biden, Kerry and Hagel.

In fact, the decision only highlighted an often described feckless policy related to the Syrian civil war. A strategy that contributed to millions of refugees, many fleeing and destabilizing democracies in Europe, a vacuum allowing the entry of Russia on Assad’s side, and the utter destruction of Aleppo. The decision was firmly embedded in Obama’s fundamental approach of minimalism in the Middle East, which included the Iraq withdrawal and the truncated Libyan intervention.

See blogs
President has options in Syria
Will foreign policy effect the 2014 elections?
Red Line: Kerry and Hagel agree Obama foreign policy disaster
Chuck Hagel – Nice guy, wrong fit
Syria: Public opinion cul-de-sac
Panic in the White House – Foreign policy
Obama’s last State of the Union and foreign policy

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Trump at first press conference, Jan. 11, 2017
Photo: Getty Images

Donald Trump’s first press conference as president-elect was vintage Trump. He vigorously denied
(fake news) the Internet-driven intelligence story about a Russian dossier on him, attacked the media for printing it and pivoted to his approach to conflicts of interest concerning the Trump Corporation. He dominated the news cycle and the press conference. Not particularly “presidential,” but self-confident, chatty and in control.

Of course, it is likely only a temporary reprieve from news on the dossier and fight with the intelligence community, and Trump already has problems. A new Quinnipiac poll shows the president-elect with a declining favorability rating since his November victory and low approval ratings for the transition.

  • 37% favorability, down from 44% right after the November 8 election
  • 37% approve transition, 51% disapprove
  • Optimistic about next 4 years was 59%, now 52%
  • Stop tweeting 64% to 33%

In an interview with 9KUSA TaRhonda Thomas, the following was highlighted.

  • It is unprecedented to have this much controversy just prior to the inauguration, but the entire public aspect of this transition is unprecedented. The public entrances and departures at Trump Tower and frequent tweeting, including fights with actor Meryl Streep.
  • Trump is master at surviving scandal. The Access Hollywood controversy last fall shows his durability. He recovered and won the election.
  • The dossier will surely recede if no new evidence shows up. As president, he will have more ways to manage bad news, but there are a lot of intelligence players who intend on protecting their agencies, some of whom don’t believe he should be president.
  • The conflict of interest issue will be back because his solution is too shallow for most observers.

See Politico: Highlights from Trump’s press conference

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Chinese President Xi will lead a group of mega-millionaires and billionaires from his communist-controlled country to the Davos World Economic Forum, a think tank of capitalism. He will argue for globalism and against protectionism. Of course, at home he is intensely nationalistic and China has a myriad of protectionist practices, but still he is now a world spokesperson for globalism. Mostly Xi is looking for allies against America’s pending anti-China position. Also, his presidency is up for renewal this year and President Xi is looking for some international prestige.

President Vladimir Putin will not attend Davos and continues to try to be the leading spokesperson for anti-globalism, nationalism and defending the Christian West against radical Islam.

Trump, who will be sworn in the last day of the Davos conference, sides with Putin on globalism, a shift from the the U.S.’s post-World War II positions, and against the positions of most of America’s historic allies.

Attending Davos will be Secretary John Kerry, who most likely considers Switzerland his second home, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Given the momentum of anti-global populism in the developed world, the World Economic Forum no doubt welcomes China’s high-profile advocacy. But, the champagne will not be flowing at the 2017 Davos conference.

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Russian approval of their president, Vladimir Putin, couldn’t get much higher and disapproval of American leadership any lower. Numerous Russian polls report Putin’s approval among his citizens at 80 percent or higher. But Gallup reported in 2015 only one percent of Russians approved of U.S. leaders – “worst rating in world” and “lowest approval for the U.S. in the past decade.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Defense Minister Sergei Sholgu (R) and
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
Photo: Wall Street Journal

Well before reports of Russian intervention in the U.S. election, American opinion of Russia had sunk to new lows. Only 22 percent of U.S. have a favorable opinion of Russia. The new low reported by Gallup reflects the criticism of Russia related to the Crimea, Ukraine, Syria and Edward Snowden.

One observation that stands out from the data is an uptick in partisan difference. A significant gap now appears between Democrats and Republicans, with a recent YouGov survey showing only 16 percent of Democrats see Russia as an ally or friendly, but 31 percent of Republicans categorized them that way, a significant jump since July 2016.

It remains to be seen if President-elect Trump and foreign policy elites so inclined (i.e., realists, nationalists, etc.) can head off a further deterioration in relations, but the public in both countries already feel winter is coming.

Wall Street Journal: Obama sanctions Russia, expels 35
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Majority of Americans – except for Republicans – back congressional inquiry; survey shows 30-year lows for Russian’s favorability
Gallup: The 2016 year in review at
FiveThirtyEight: All of a sudden, Russia has become a partisan issue

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