• New Report: Incarceration and Recidivism: Lessons from Abroad

    Incarceration NEWPORT, R.I. Locking up the same people over and over again points to failures in the American penal system. In a compelling study released today by the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, fellow Carolyn Deady explores why America’s prison population is so large and looks to other countries for clues to a smarter approach.

    “The U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other countries. As responsible citizens we have to ask why,” said Deady. “What is so different about our society and our sense of justice that we lock-up more than 10 percent of our adult population? The answer tells us a lot about our values.”

    The U.S. criminal justice system needs to shift its focus from punishment to rehabilitation, particularly for non-violent offenders, argues Deady. The study, “Incarceration and Recidivism: Lessons from Abroad,” highlights the disparity between the American criminal justice system and those of other industrial nations. “The U.S. rate of incarceration exceeds that of the rest of the world, and costs the public about $80 billion annually. As one final point of comparison,” Deady noted, “the United States has about 5 percent of the world’s population yet it accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.”

    The United States compares so poorly to other nations for a variety of reasons discussed in the study. Foremost, however, Deady’s analysis points to mandatory sentencing rules, the decades-long war on drugs, and an approach to justice that emphasizes punishment over rehabilitation.

    “Incarceration and Recidivism: Lessons from Abroad” is the first study in the Pell Center’s Global Challenges initiative. “We know the United States faces big challenges on a broad sweep of issues,” said Jim Ludes, Pell Center executive director. “This project is going to pivot the perspective and look at pressing social issues in the United States from abroad.  Carolyn Deady, with her background in international programming at C-SPAN, is the perfect person to lead this effort.”

    The full report is available for download here.

    Listen to Jim Ludes’s interview with Carolyn Deady here.

  • Watching Ukraine, Thinking about 1956 & U.S. Strategy

    Hole_in_flag_-_Budapest_1956In the summer of 1956, riots broke out in Poznan, Poland, inspired, primarily, by grievances over wage reductions.  The forces of dissent however grew beyond those economic grievances to express discontent with a range of issues, most notably the influence of the Soviet Union and the presence of Soviet forces in Poland.  These local issues were swept up into the Cold War along with the process of de-Stalinization and the idea of “nationalist communism.”  In the end, the new regime in Poland convinced officials in Moscow that Poland sought no accommodation with the West, but rather sought to better provide for its citizens and thereby become a better ally of the Soviet Union.

    In October 1956, similar pressures broke free in Budapest, Hungary.  Mob action spread and the Soviet-backed regime teetered on the verge of collapse.  Soviet forces stationed in the country since the end of World War II attacked Hungarian demonstrators and then withdrew from the capital.  Over several drama filled days, the disturbances in Hungary began to promise true reform and the re-emergence of the post-war democratic parties that had been outlawed for more than a decade.

    The United States signaled it sought no military advantage in Hungarian independence.  Soviet leaders proclaimed their respect for the independence of socialist regimes.  Negotiations began about the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary.  Yet developments quickly took a different course than those in Poland just a few months earlier.  After days of promise and tension, Imre Nagy—Hungary’s revolutionary premier—expressed his country’s desire to leave the Warsaw Pact, proclaimed Hungary’s neutrality, and requested UN recognition.  By then, Soviet leaders had already reached a decision and rushed troops in to seize control and install a regime more loyal to Moscow.

    The conduct of U.S. policy in those critical months of 1956 is best described as a balancing act.  On one side, the United States did not want to be seen as encouraging the Hungarian revolutionaries, but on the other, they did not want to abandon them, either.  Within the administration, opinions differed at all levels over what course of action the United States should take.  Secretary of State John Foster Dulles expressed a keen desire to act, confiding to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge at the United Nations that he was “worried that it will be said that here are the great moments and when they came and these fellows were ready to stand up and die, we were caught napping and doing nothing.”

    In contrast, President Dwight Eisenhower demonstrated remarkable patience in letting events develop.  He was firmly realistic in his assessment of the West’s ability to alter events in Eastern Europe.  The real source of anxiety for him in those months was the Suez Canal crisis.

    At lower levels, a whole range of options were considered, including offers of armed assistance, covert support, humanitarian assistance, and expanded propaganda.  That autumn, the National Security Council (NSC) in the White House began work on a revised policy statement in light of events in Poland and Hungary.  The draft document included the instruction to “undertake a study of the situation in other European satellites to formulate plans and determine U.S. courses of action in the event of future revolutionary actions or uprisings, whether successful or unsuccessful, in those countries which indicate a movement away from control by the USSR.”

    In a word, the Eisenhower administration was surprised.  They had no pre-packaged plans for an event which seemed to signal a new period in which regimes might want to move away from the Soviet Union.

    When the United States finally did take action, it came in the form of a series of diplomatic maneuvers in the United Nations designed to pressure the Soviets to refrain from violent action in Hungary.  The tactic failed.  On the morning of November 4, 1956, more than 200,000 Soviet troops and almost 6,000 Soviet tanks moved to put down the Hungarian uprising.

    Critics, then and since, condemned the Eisenhower administration’s failure to confront the Soviet Union more directly over Hungary.  Many explanations of U.S. policy have been offered since 1956.  But the truth can be distilled to two simple concepts.

    First, avoid actions that may lead to general war.  Eisenhower understood that U.S. action in Eastern Europe would be viewed by the Soviets as a threat to their national security.  Such moves were flatly rejected by the NSC in its planning, just as surely as they would have been if proposed to the president.  Other ideas, such as a CIA-advocated plan to employ tactical nuclear weapons against the major rail-lines running into Hungary as a means of disrupting the Soviet invasion, or air-dropping supplies to the rebels, were quickly dismissed.  Accordingly, the administration signaled the Soviets on several different occasions that the United States would not intervene militarily in the region.

    Dulles, despite his early advocacy for action, was one of several public voices about American intentions.  He signaled the Soviet Union that the United States sought no military advantage from freedom of the Eastern European satellites.  While Dulles praised “the heroic people of Hungary,” and condemned “the murderous fire of Red Army tanks,” Dulles was very direct about U.S. interests in the region.  He said “we do not look upon these nations as potential military allies.  We see them as friends and as part of a new and friendly and no longer divided Europe.  We are confident that their independence, if promptly accorded, will contribute immensely to stabilize peace throughout all of Europe, West and East.”  Subsequently, Charles Bohlen, the American ambassador in Moscow, was instructed to bring this passage from Dulles to the attention of Soviet leaders.

    On the evening of October 31, Eisenhower delivered a nationally televised address to the nation.  While he reminded his audience of the country’s bipartisan policy to end Soviet domination in Eastern Europe, he also noted the very real limitations on U.S. policy.  He said, “We could not, of course, carry out this policy by resort to force.  Such force would have been contrary both to the best interests of the Eastern European peoples and to the abiding principles of the United Nations.”

    In short, Eisenhower refused to take any action that might lead to general war with the Soviet Union.  That calculation had guided the administration’s conduct of national security policy from the very beginning of Ike’s presidency, and it guided the president’s conduct in the autumn of 1956 as well.  In an interview almost a decade later, Theodore Streibert, who served as director of the U.S. Information Agency in the first Eisenhower administration made clear that from the earliest days of the administration, policy makers had known, “that you could never send American boys across the curtain there to help liberate these countries, that you couldn’t spill any American blood in the process of liberation.”  The limits on U.S. policy in the autumn of 1956 were well defined and long-understood by officials.  Policy was not wholly improvised, even if specific developments in the Soviet sphere were unanticipated.

    In his memoirs, Eisenhower wrote that the president “learns to live with the frustrating fact that many issues on which he is required to work have no immediate, and sometimes not even a satisfactory future, solution.”

    Second, U.S. strategy in the Cold War was bigger than Hungary—and events there, no matter the specific outcome, could further U.S. interests.  The Eisenhower administration’s conception of the Cold War was a long-term political and economic struggle between the Soviet Union and the West, led by the United States.  Accordingly, the administration relied on non-military, primarily political, means to advance the interests of the United States.  This required a robust organization for political warfare and a willingness to use it.

    During the disturbances in Eastern Europe, the political warriors in the administration sought to use developments there to advance their cause in key target audiences, not in Eastern Europe, but particularly in Western Europe, Asia and Africa.  For example, Soviet action in Hungary, reported Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, “had reduced Soviet prestige in Western Europe to its lowest point in many years.”  These global political-psychological efforts were horribly undermined by Anglo-French conduct in the Suez Canal crisis, but the Hungarian uprising  provided useful political material to help draw the west back together given the immediate example of Soviet ruthlessness.

    The peril of general war and the promise of political warfare to advance U.S. interests short of the use of force were the first points Eisenhower emphasized when he met with the bipartisan legislative leadership on November 9, 1956.  The meeting notes record the president’s consistency:

    As a backdrop to this discussion, the President said, it was necessary to remember that this is the age of the atom and that the world has to find a solution—either we achieve peace or we face extinction. . . . The President wanted to note particularly that Hungarian developments have served throughout most of the world to convict the Soviet of brutal imperialism.  This was the opposite of the old situation when neutral nations would never view Russia as being guilty of either colonialism or imperialism, and when Russia would never be disbelieved and we would never be believed.  Further, the Hungarian situation warns us again that the Soviet is capable of changing its face almost instantly.

    In other words, the Hungarian and Polish uprisings provided ammunition for the Cold War.  In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s intervention in Hungary, Eisenhower noted in his diary that there were several tasks before him.  The first item, in his judgment, was to share with the world the facts—in both word and moving picture—of Soviet actions in Hungary.  “We must make certain,” the president opined in his diary, “that every weak country understands what can be in store for it once it falls under the domination of the Soviets.”

    Elsewhere, Eisenhower recorded in his own hand the significance of what he termed the “Hungarian Tragedy.”  The events in Hungary, Eisenhower believed, “convicts [the] Soviets before the world of the most brutal imperialism,” and “warns us of no change in purpose” in the Soviet regime.  Propaganda gains were also found in the subsequent defection of the Hungarian Olympians “en masse,” the boycott of Soviet goods sponsored by international labor, and the brutality of Soviet actions against Hungarian civilians.

    The administration was especially interested in emphasizing the Soviet Union’s brutality in the non-aligned world, particularly in India.  Eisenhower speculated events in Hungary might encourage Nehru to distance himself from the Communists and suggested to John Foster Dulles that in asking for Nehru’s counsel in this matter, the United States might draw India closer to the West.

    On the most basic tactical level, U.S. propaganda outlets focused on the publication of a “White Book” of Soviet offensives and news reels documenting the attack on Hungary.  When in January of 1957, the United Nations noted the urgent need for grain in Hungary to stave off starvation, American cold warriors were quick to contrast that with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s boasting of a bumper crop that year.

    These rather paltry moves by the administration, especially given the criticism that the United States had incited the Hungarian uprising, gave fodder to administration critics.  Eisenhower, however, was frustrated by that dynamic.  He felt the United States had done all it could do.  NSC minutes reflected his frustration:

    The President said that this was indeed a bitter pill for us to swallow.  We say we are at the end of our patience, but what can we do that is really constructive?  Should we break off diplomatic relations with the USSR?  What would be gained by this action?  The Soviets don’t care.  The whole business was shocking to the point of being unbelievable.  And yet many people seemed unconvinced.

    The conversation in the NSC meeting turned to how to better convince the rest of the world.  Eisenhower, for example, wondered aloud how any country—Syria, in his example—could still consider fostering better relations with the Soviet Union in light of events in Hungary.  “It is for this reason, the president continued, “that we must go on playing up the situation in Hungary to the absolute maximum, so the whole world will see and understand.”

    Despite his frustrations, however, the president, more than anyone else in his inner-circle, retained a dispassionate approach to the crisis.  It was a crisis of incredible human tragedy, full of the frustration that arises when leadership is wedded to impotence.  But Eisenhower understood it was but one crisis; a crisis about which the United States could do little more than protest, condemn, and offer humanitarian assistance to the victims.

    The Cold War was bigger than Hungary and bigger than Poland, and the overall U.S. strategy for waging cold war recognized this.  In the passions of the moment, Eisenhower held true to this insight and acted with his long-term vision of the Cold War in mind.  He was angry and disturbed by the use of Soviet force against civilians seeking freedom and democracy.  But he was not willing to upset the larger, more favorable strategic setting his administration had gained.

    Ukraine 2014

    A little more than 57 years later, and almost twenty-five years since the end of the Cold War, we find ourselves at a moment when leaders in Moscow have decided, again, to use force against a European neighbor whose people have chosen a different political path than Moscow prefers.  As of this writing, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops into Crimea, a peninsula in the south of Ukraine.  The American secretary of state has called the Russian action “an invasion.”  The new government in Kiev has mobilized its military reserves.  Emergency meetings of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Council are underway.

    Russian actions in Ukraine pose the greatest threat to European peace and security since the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, and, like Eisenhower, President Obama finds he has few immediate options to alter the reality on the ground in Ukraine short of the use of force.  No different from the Cold War, the United States is not going to risk war with Russia over Ukraine.  Vladimir Putin knows that and so Ukraine will suffer the curse of geography—so far from God, and so close to Russia.

    Eisenhower had one advantage that Obama lacks.  In the first year of his Presidency, Eisenhower developed a national security strategy that both reflected and helped strengthen a bipartisan consensus about American national interests, the nature of the international system, and the means to prevail in the Cold War.  For example, U.S. policy in the autumn of 1956, focused on the exploitation of Soviet sins in Eastern Europe for propaganda value.  Ultimately, U.S. policy sought American security and prosperity as a result of a stable and free international political and economic order, embodied in the United Nations and protected by strong political and military alliances of free people around the world.  Soviet actions in Hungary, if nothing else, helped strengthen the bonds between the western democracies.

    Since the end of the Cold War, however, the United States has lacked a defining strategic framework.  The only true bipartisan consensus to emerge in those years has been the interventionist nexus between neo-conservatives and progressive internationalists—both of whom believe that the problems of the world are best managed by the imposition of American military power: look for examples of their work to the Kosovo Campaign in the 1990s and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.  In both of those cases, however, the United States failed to receive United Nations Security Council authorization to use force.  Yet the President of the United States determined action was necessary and so American forces went to war.  Like it or not, the Russian president has done the same thing in Ukraine.

    At the end of the Cold War, reflecting on the robust international response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, President George H. W. Bush heralded a “new world order” in which the world’s global institutions worked as their designers intended.  Those institutions, built largely to protect a stable world order that greatly benefited the United States, have been ignored by presidents of both parties since then.  Those men, and the American public more broadly, seduced by the “unipolar moment” and convinced of America’s benevolence, power, and even righteousness, have let the United States repeatedly undermine the norms of international behavior that our diplomats now cite to Russia.

    “In the twenty-first century,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on March 2nd, “countries have been working to establish a different kind of behavior as the norm.”  Had the United States spent the last quarter-century since Kuwait building on George H. W. Bush’s vision of international peace and cooperation—a vision wholly one with Eisenhower’s view of success in the Cold War—Secretary Kerry’s remarks might resonate differently.  Instead, American political leaders in both parties have undermined the power of the United Nations to arbitrate issues of war and peace by ignoring the world body whenever it would not support the U.S. position.  Some might say that prerogative comes with great power, but the result now is that President Obama finds his administration, like Ike’s in 1956, in a position of leadership wedded to impotence.

    With or without an overarching ideological foe, the long-term interests of the United States lie in the creation and preservation of an international system of sovereign states, inviolable borders, free trade, and global institutions that reinforce and protect that system.  To be truly effective, such a system should be self-sustaining, and not simply the responsibility of the United States to preserve.  But for such a system to work, the United States, because of its power, must not just apply the norms of that system to others, it must live by them itself.  The alternative, as we have seen, is empty rhetoric in times of crisis and too many deployments of American troops acting as the world’s policemen.

    Russia has invaded Ukraine.  They are sure to seize Crimea.  Whether they move against the rest of Ukraine remains to be seen.  The question for Americans today is whether our response will be tactical—responding only to the immediate crisis in Ukraine—or if we will take from this moment the inspiration to commit ourselves more fully to the creation and preservation of an international system that better protects American security, and the security and freedom of people around the world.

    The United States does not have the power to impose its will everywhere around the globe.  We’re better served by an international system that reflects our will and protects our interests.  We’re a long way from there today.

    Note: Dr. Jim Ludes is Executive Director of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.  From 2002 to 2006 he advised then Senator John Kerry on matters of defense and foreign policy.  From 2006 to 2011 he was Executive Director of the American Security Project, a Washington-based think tank.  During 2008-2009 he served on President Obama’s transition team in the Pentagon.

  • Danny Strong to be awarded University’s Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square

    Emmy Winning Screenwriter Danny Strong to be honored by Pell Center

    Emmy Winning Screenwriter Danny Strong to be honored by Pell Center

    NEWPORT, R.I. – Emmy-winning screenwriter, producer and actor Danny Strong will be honored April 11 at Salve Regina University when he receives the second annual Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, an award recognizing a contemporary storyteller whose work has had a significant impact on the public dialogue.

    Strong — whose screenwriting credits include Recount, Game Change, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Mockingjay, the two-part Hunger Games finale — will also be the keynote speaker during the second Story in the Public Square conference, a partnership of Salve Regina’s Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The public is invited to attend.

    “I am delighted to be receiving the 2014 Pell Center Prize,” Strong said. “I think it’s wonderful that Story in the Public Square recognizes storytelling that explores public policy and social justice. It’s never easy getting this kind of material produced, so honoring it is a public service of its own as it will hopefully lead to more films and TV shows that examine the pressing social issues facing our country today.”

    “Danny Strong is a master storyteller whose work prompts us to more deeply examine our political system and society,” said Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “We are privileged—and frankly, thrilled—to welcome him to campus.”

    Said Story in the Public Square director G. Wayne Miller, “Film has a unique power to place vital issues center stage in the public dialogue. On a personal level, one cannot watch Danny Strong’s movies and not reflect on inequality, racism, politics and other pressing themes of our time.”

    Strong’s Game Change, the 2012 HBO production about the 2008 presidential election, won a Golden Globe, a primetime Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award, and a Producers Guild of America Award. His 2008 HBO film Recount, about the 2000 presidential election, won a Primetime Emmy. Part I of the Mockingjay Hunger Games finale will be released this fall. Part II is currently in production. Strong recently signed to script the remake of Guys and Dolls.

    Strong is also an accomplished Hollywood actor, having played roles in the TV series Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, Gilmore Girls and, early in his career, the character Jonathan Levinson in the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also acted as a producer on many of his projects, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Game Change and Recount.

    “Moving Images” is the theme of the April 11 conference. The day will include screenings and discussions by four local storytellers from the worlds of TV, animation, feature-length documentary filmmaking, and short documentary/video. The audience will have the chance to make short films of their own. The day concludes with an evening screening of Strong’s Game Change at the historic Jane Pickens theater in downtown Newport.

    Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writer, was the 2013 winner of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square at last year’s inaugural Story Day conference.

    The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is a research center on the campus of Salve Regina University.  The center is named for the late Senator Claiborne Pell, statesman, creator of the Pell Grants, and father of the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. Pell lived in Newport.

    Early registration for this year’s conference is recommended. Register through the link at  www.publicstory.org.  The $25 fee includes lunch and the evening screening at Jane Pickens Theater.

    Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StoryInThePublicSquare

    Follow us on Twitter: @pubstory

    The hashtag for the April 11 conference is #publicstory.

  • Story of the Year 2013: National Security Agency Digital Spying

    Newport, RI–Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller, director of Story in the Public Square, released a video announcing the first winner of Story of the Year today:

    Ludes and Miller also released the following statement announcing Story of the Year 2013:

    We are pleased to announce our pick for the first annual Story of the Year – that one narrative—or story–from the last 12 months that we believe has most significantly affected American public dialogue and policy.

    There was plenty of competition: the botched rollout of Obamacare, the federal shutdown, the continuing impasse on immigration reform, the agreements on Syrian chemical weapons and Iran’s nuclear program, even the election of Pope Francis. All of these stories held our attention.

    But for story of the year, 2013, we have chosen disclosure of the National Security Agency’s massive digital spying operation.

    The story broke in June, when newspapers in the United States and England began publishing stories based on up to 200,000 documents stolen from the national security agency by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the agency.

    The first reports described NSA collection of phone call data from U.S. customers of Verizon. As more documents were published, it was clear that the NSA was monitoring email and other information, some obtained from Aol, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

    The revelations led to denials, confirmations, congressional hearings, proposed legislation, international backlash – and growing public unease that contemporary America had taken on an Orwellian mask. For their part, the president, the NSA and others defended the surveillance programs as authorized by congress, reviewed by the courts, and deemed necessary by the commander-in-chief for security in the post-9/11 world.

    As 2013 draws to a close, the story is still unfolding and the debate is really just beginning. Americans are questioning their government – and pondering anew the meaning of privacy in the digital age. America’s allies are asking questions, too. And you can be sure that America’s adversaries are changing the way they operate as well.

    This is a vital story that will be with us for years—and one that we believe is worthy of our pick as the Pell Center’s 2013 story of the year.

    We encourage you to visit www.publicstory.org, where you can join the discussion about government spying and where you can learn more about story in the public square, a program open to all. And please visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/StoryInThePublicSquare — and follows us on Twitter: @pubstory.

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  • Pell Center Creates Story Board to Build a Community of Storytellers and Scholars

    Initiative reaches across Rhode Island and features participants from every college and university in the state

    NEWPORT, R.I. — In an expansion aimed at enhancing the study, celebration and practice of public storytelling, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University today named two dozen people to a newly created, at-large “Story Board” that will advise the Pell Center’s leadership on the development of its Story in the Public Square (SIPS) initiative.

    “We’ve brought together a tremendous group who add a broad range of creative and cultural interests and expertise to our overall effort,” said Pell Center Executive Director, Dr. Jim Ludes.  “We expect their involvement in this effort to enrich and enliven the discussion of storytelling in public affairs.”

    SIPS co-director G. Wayne Miller continued, “As we continue to build Story in the Public Square, board members will be an integral part of the process.  Their collective experience will be an enormous asset to the public dialogue. We are thrilled to be able to draw on their wealth of knowledge and wisdom.”

    Story Board members will advise the program’s directors, judge contests, and mentor students. Members will be encouraged to contribute their own writings, still and moving images, and other expressions to www.publicstory.org and other SIPS forums. They will offer ideas on improving and expanding Story in the Public Square.

    The Story Board includes members from a broad sweep of storytelling media: filmmaking, animation, television, still photography, radio, education, history and journalism. Every Rhode Island college has representation on the Story Board.

    The founding members of the Story Board are:

    • Dorothy Abram, writer and associate professor of Social Sciences at Johnson & Wales University;
    • Susan Areson, Providence Journal deputy executive editor;
    • David Boeri, senior reporter, WBUR 90.9, Boston’s NPR news station;
    • Jennifer Cook, associate professor of English and Secondary Education, Rhode Island College, and director of the Rhode Island Writing Project;
    • Pamela Reinsel Cotter, The Providence Journal’s assistant managing editor for Breaking News/Geo and social media editor;
    • Christopher B. Daly, associate professor of journalism, Boston University;
    • Xue Di, poet and fellow in Brown University’s Freedom to Write program;
    • Steven F. Forleo, English professor, Community College of Rhode Island, and faculty adviser for CCRI student paper The Unfiltered Lens;
    • John Freidah, photojournalist, documentary filmmaker, and multimedia producer at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering;
    • Gitahi Gititi, writer and professor of English, Film and Media Studies, and African and African American Studies, University of Rhode Island;
    • Gary Hart, Huffington Post blogger, author, and former U.S. senator;
    • Paulla Dove Jennings, storyteller, historian, educator, Narragansett Tribe elder and, since 1989, curator of the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum in Exeter, R.I.;
    • Steve Klamkin, radio news journalist, 630 AM & 99.7 FM WPRO;
    • Kathryn Larsen, program director, Rhode Island PBS;
    • John Lavall, documentary filmmaker;
    • Judy Barrett Litoff, author and professor of history at Bryant University;
    • Mia Lupo, student, Salve Regina University;
    • George T. Marshall, founder and executive director of R.I. International Film Festival, and Adjunct professor of communications and film, Roger Williams University;
    • Lorelei Pepi, animation artist and part time faculty, Rhode Island School of Design;
    • Sussy Santana, poet and performance artist;
    • Lorén Spears, storyteller, educator and executive director of the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum;
    • Jim Taricani, investigative television reporter, WJAR-TV, NBC 10;
    • Alisha Pina Thounsavath, staff writer and columnist, Providence Journal;
    • Padma Venkatraman, author and instructor at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island;
    • Karen Thompson Walker, novelist; and
    • Agnieszka Woznicka, animation artist and associate professor, Rhode Island School of Design.

    Members endorse the core concept of Story in the Public Square, namely: To study, celebrate and cultivate the use of storytelling in public affairs. Established in 2012, Story in the Public Square staged its first Story Day in April 2013, when it welcomed former Senator Gary Hart as keynote speaker and presented the first Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square to two-time Pulizer Prize winner Dana Priest, of The Washington Post. The Pell Center will host the second Story Day this spring at Salve Regina University.

    SIPS defines “story” as the use of word, image and/or sound, in any medium (print, web, film, video, novel, art, etc.), to narrate an experience, typically with an emphasis on emotion, character and insight. Public storytelling is story made widely available, with the potential to influence individual opinion and community, national and international policy, either swiftly or over time. Story stands in contrast to exposition, the straightforward (and often important) conveying of information, such as the standard “hard news” piece that is a journalistic mainstay.

    Story in the Public Square’s objectives are incorporated under this motto: Experience. Share. Act. The program is a joint initiative of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal, with major grant support from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities.

    Members of the programs Board of Governors serve as ex-officio members of the Story Board.

    Visit the SIPS site at www.publicstory.org, follow the program on Twitter @pubstory, and visit on Facebook www.facebook.com/StoryInThePublicSquare.

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  • Public Leaders from across Rhode Island gather at the Pell Center for Leadership Matters

    Workshops aim to support municipal leaders

    Newport, RI: Twenty public leaders from across Rhode Island gathered October 18-19, 2013, at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for the first segment of Leadership Matters, a professional development program for municipal and social-sector leaders.

    “Leadership Matters goes to the heart of the mission of the Pell Center,” said Dr. Jim Ludes, the center’s executive director.  “We are ever mindful of Senator Pell’s legacy of service to the people of Rhode Island,” he continued.  “We believe Leadership Matters honors that legacy by contributing to the important work done by public leaders in Rhode Island today.”

    The first cohort on campus last week included municipal teams from Newport, Middletown and Pawtucket. RI legislators from both the house and the senate, and academic leaders from Salve Regina University.  Each team consists of a “steward” and three additional team members.

    “The team concept is important to the design of the program,” said Ludes.  “We asked the steward in each community or organization to pick the team they wanted to bring for this training that would best address their unique local priorities.”

    Leadership Matters is a multi-phased program.  In the first phase participants attend eight classroom training days over five months, scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays.  The courses cover facilitative leadership practices; system thinking; negotiation; and aligning means and ends for optimal performance outcomes.

    “It’s a practitioner’s curriculum,” said Georgianna Bishop, the President of the Public Sector Consortium of Cambridge, MA, who partnered with the Pell Center to develop Leadership Matters.  “I’ve spent a career working with public leaders and I know that taking time to develop new skills can be very tough for people who are often the busiest people in the state,” she said.  “They can use when they get back to the office on Monday morning.  And those that do will get the most from the sessions.”

    “What particularly appealed to me about this program is that it’s geared for people who are responsible for putting leadership skills into practical use every day,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien of Pawtucket, RI. “I am already finding it to be a very valuable program for me as well as for key members of my staff.”

    In the second phase of the program, municipalities will undertake an innovation project of their own design.  “Our intention,” said Ludes, “is to link external coaches and mentors to the communities while they take on these projects.  We’re still working with foundations to secure the funding for that phase,” he cautioned, “but we want participants to benefit from the experience of others who have succeeded in similar challenges.”

    Finally, according to Ludes, the Pell Center will host a lessons learned conference in the early autumn of 2014.  The purpose of this final phase is to bring communities together again to brief each other on their innovation projects, where they succeeded and where—if appropriate—they came up short.

    “The last phase is really important,” said Ludes.  “We want to create a culture of collaboration and lesson-sharing across the state between; the towns, the legislature, non profits and academic institutions. “  “I believe it can pay real dividends for the state.”  He continued, “Rhode Island has long benefited from tremendous leadership—really dating back to its founding three and a half centuries ago.  It’s no different today.  We’ve seen in these sessions the tremendous talent that lies in Rhode Island’s municipalities and we are delighted to be working with them.”

  • New Event: Attack Syria?

    Flight operations from the deck of the USS Nimitz

    Flight operations from the deck of the USS Nimitz

    A Conversation about the Strategy and Politics of the Crisis in the Middle East

    Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 6:00 PM

    RSVP to [email protected] or 401-341-2927

    DiStefano Hall, Antone Center

    (Corner of LeRoy and Lawrence) on the campus of Salve Regina University


    Timothy D. Hoyt, Ph.D.

    Professor of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Naval War College and author of the recent article, “How to Attack Syria,” in The National Interest http://bit.ly/18pZxYR


    Dr. Clark Merrill

    Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Political Science, Salve Regina University

    On August 21, 2013, chemical weapons were used to attack civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria.  It was not the first time chemical weapons had been used in the Syrian civil war, but for the administration of President Barack Obama, their use was the crossing of the “red-line” the President had warned would provoke an armed American response.  Failing to win support in the United Nations or from America’s closest ally, the United Kingdom, President Obama last week announced he would seek Congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria.

    With Congressional hearings underway, and a vote expected next week in Congress, join us at the Pell Center to discuss the strategy, the policy, and the politics of what may become America’s fourth war in the last decade.

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    6:00 PM

    DiStefano Hall, Antone Center

    (Corner of LeRoy and Lawrence) on the campus of Salve Regina University

    RSVP to [email protected] or 401-341-2927

    Timothy D. Hoyt is Professor of Strategy and Policy and the John Nicholas Brown Chair of Counterterrorism Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he has taught for ten years,.  Dr. Hoyt earned his undergraduate degrees from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in International Relations and Strategic Studies from The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 1997.  Before joining the Naval War College, he taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Dr. Hoyt is the author of Military Industries and Regional Defense Policy: India, Iraq and Israel, and over 40 articles and chapters on international security and military affairs.   Recent publications include chapters and articles on the war on terrorism in South Asia, the limits of military force in the global war on terrorism, the impact of culture on military doctrine and strategy, military innovation and warfare in the developing world, U.S.–Pakistan relations, the impact of nuclear weapons on recent crises in South Asia, and the strategic effectiveness of terrorism. Dr. Hoyt served previously as Co-Chairman of the Indian Ocean Regional Studies Group at the Naval War College.  He is currently working on a multi-volume study of the strategy of the Irish Republican Army from 1913-2005, a series of projects examining U.S. relations with India and Pakistan, and analyses of irregular warfare and terrorism in South Asia.

  • Growth of Pell Center Fellows Program Continues with Naming of Two New Fellows

    Newport, RI—The Pell Center at Salve Regina University today announced the appointment of two new fellows. Joining a growing group of scholars and policy innovators are Dr. Robert Hackey and Ms. Carolyn Deady.

    Robert Hackey is Program Director and professor of Health Policy and Management at Providence College. “We’re lucky to have Dr. Hackey join the fellows at the Pell Center,” said Dr. Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center. “He’s helped build a distinctive program at PC that examines the relationship between healthcare and our broader society. That kind of focus and interest is exactly what the Pell Center is about, and we’re delighted to work with him.”

    Hackey will be a visiting fellow at the Pell Center in the Spring of 2014 while on sabbatical from Providence, until then he will be affiliated as an adjunct fellow. “I met Bob almost two years ago,” said Ludes, “and was immediately drawn to his work. We have a project at the Pell Center examining the role of storytelling in public affairs, and Bob’s own scholarship has focused on how the way we talk about crises in healthcare have distorted public policy. His work is a terrific addition to what’s happening at the Pell Center.”

    “My work on the rhetoric of health care reform and the use of symbols and stories in policy debates parallels the Pell Center’s recent initiatives on storytelling in the public square,” Professor Hackey said. “I look forward to sharing my work with the community at Salve Regina University.”

    Also joining the team of fellows at the Pell Center is Carolyn Deady. “I have known Carolyn Deady for more than a decade,” said Ludes, “back to the time when she was responsible for C-SPAN’s coverage of international politics. She understands better than most that the challenges we face in the United States are not necessarily unique, and I’m excited about the project she’ll lead at the Pell Center.”

    Deady will develop a project on global challenges—examining seemingly insurmountable U.S. domestic policy issues like healthcare, immigration, an aging population, and the affordability of higher education from an international perspective. “Carolyn’s project is exciting,” said Ludes, “because she gets to turn the lens on American politics and look at the way other countries have dealt with—and in some cases solved—challenges that have proven so difficult in the American experience.” Initial studies are expected to be completed this autumn.

    “Looking at domestic challenges from an international perspective is an under-appreciated approach,” said Deady. “There’s sometimes a tendency to take a myopic approach toward our own challenges when possibly much could be learned from other societies which have addressed similar issues.”

    Full biographies follow and are available with photographs at: http://www.salve.edu/pellcenter/fellowsandstaff/

    Robert Hackey

    Day Job: Program Director/Professor of Health Policy and Management, Providence College

    Areas of Expertise: Health care reform at state and national levels, health care in popular culture, health care regulation of hospitals, certificate of need regulation, public opinion and health care, language and public policy/problem definition

    Robert B. Hackey is professor of Health Policy and Management at Providence College. He is the author of Cries of Crisis: Rethinking the Health Care Debate published in 2012 by the University of Nevada Press. His previous books include The New Politics of State Health Policy (University Press of Kansas, 2001) and Rethinking Health Care Policy: The New Politics of State Regulation (Georgetown University Press, 1997), co-edited with David Rochefort. His articles on health care reform, hospital regulation, and certificate-of-need laws have appeared in the Journal of Economic Issues, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, the Journal of Trauma, and Medical Care Review, among others. In 2008, he was recognized as Professor of the Year for the State of Rhode Island by the Carnegie/CASE U.S. Professors of the Year Program.

    Carolyn Deady

    Areas of Expertise: World legislatures, international media, Congressional affairs, media analysis, education

    Carolyn Deady is a freelance journalist and former international producer at C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) in Washington, DC. While at C-SPAN, she was the liaison with world legislatures, obtaining coverage of parliamentary proceedings for broadcast. She also worked with television networks worldwide in getting foreign newscasts to offer the C-SPAN audience an international perspective on events affecting the United States. Ms. Deady also covered multiple parliamentary and presidential races in the field, including the British House of Commons and the Mexican Presidential race of 2000. She also field produced programming of U.S. Congressional and presidential elections. Ms. Deady is also an adjunct fellow at the American Security Project, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization based in Washington, DC.

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  • New Study: Senior U.S. Military Schools Struggle to Include Cyber Education in Curricula

    JPME Cyber Leaders Cover PageNew study finds mismatch between the challenges posed by cyber threats to national security and the limited exposure students receive at the nation’s senior military schools

    Newport, R.I. – America’s military graduate programs are struggling to integrate cyber education within their curricula and to reorient their academic objectives and outcomes to prepare senior military officers to lead in the cyber age. In a new study, “Joint Professional Military Education Institutions in an Age of Cyber Threat,” Pell Center Fellow Francesca Spidalieri surveys efforts by senior military institutions in the United States to educate their graduates—and ultimately the nation—for the strategic and operational challenges of our time. This study follows the report “One Leader at a Time: The Failure to Educate Future Leaders for an Age of Persistent Cyber Threat,” which detailed the failing of America’s most prestigious civilian graduate programs to prepare graduates to lead in an era of persistent cyber threat.

    “On the whole, the schools that offer joint professional military education (JPME) are, like their civilian counterparts, not yet up to the challenge posed by cyber risks and opportunities,” said Spidalieri.  “There can be little doubt that military conflict in the future will contain a cyber component,” she said, adding “yet the training of America’s next generation of military leaders remains locked in time, focused on traditional military paradigms and traditional rules of war, and too often failing to convey an understanding of the underpinning of the new digital battlefield.”

    In this report, Spidalieri surveyed the six military graduate programs that offer joint professional military education and that traditionally develop strategic and operational leaders for the U.S. military. The results provide an overview of current efforts by these institutions to include information technology and cyber security into their curricula. To date, most of the programs reviewed for this study have neither fully integrated cyber into their existing core curricula nor aligned their programs with the strategic goals of the nation’s cyber defense strategy.

    “The professionalism inherent in American military officers comes from a deliberate combination of education, training and experience designed to produce successful senior leaders,” said Maj. Gen. Brett Williams (USAF), Director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command. “Despite the fact we have over 20 years of experience with conflict in cyberspace,” he continued “we have yet to effectively integrate cyberspace operations into professional military education.  Ms. Spidalieri’s research makes this point clearly and defines the imperative for immediate action at the War College level for both military leaders and their civilian counterparts.  Too often when the money gets tight, education pays the price.  We simply cannot let this happen.  Our national security depends on leaders with the right mix of cyberspace education, training and experience and we need them now.”

    “No captain of a ship would say: ‘I don’t know anything about the ocean, but I hired somebody to drive the ship,’ quipped Spidalieri.  “Similarly, future generations of military leaders and government officials who have to navigate a digitized world need to have strong cybersecurity skills, the ability to make military and policy decisions based on knowledge of cybersecurity risks and potential impacts, and the understanding necessary to leverage cyberspace advantage to create effective strategies. This will be the deciding factor for military success and resiliency.”

    Advanced militaries around the world are embedding cyber capabilities in their existing force structures and military planners are incorporating cyber-attack into their doctrines and plans. The United States—which already has one of the most powerful offensive cyber capabilities in the world—is developing rules of engagement regarding cyber-attacks and is seeking to bolster its arsenal of cyber weapons. U.S. government officials and senior military officers regularly decry cyber threats as the top threat to national security, recognizing that a well-executed cyber-attack could not only seriously damage our economy but also jeopardize the execution of entire military missions.

    “Cyber-attacks are among the greatest national security threats facing our country today,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “This report is a valuable resource for our professional military education institutions.  As our troops train in the 21st century, they must be fully prepared to confront cyber threats.”

    The report is based on the premise that military leaders need not have specific training in computer science or engineering, but they must have a deep understanding of the cyber context in which they operate, compounded with more traditional fields such as military ethics, strategic studies, international law, and so forth. “As soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines turn their attention from incoming missiles to cyber weapons, a technology-centric education will be insufficient to counter and mitigate current and future cyber threats,” Spidalieri stressed. “Only a truly comprehensive education will help foster modern military leadership and enable them to harness the right tools, people, and strategies, and balance of offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.  Part of that education must be in cybersecurity.”

    “The key question is not whether the United States can develop the most powerful cyber capabilities in the world—we can,” said Pell Center Director Jim Ludes.  “The question,” he continued, “is whether our leaders—be they military or civilian—are equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect the things that matter in the information age and to leverage those things to our strategic advantage.”

    The report—drafted after four months of extensive research and interviews—illustrates the current state of affairs of senior military graduate program to further the assimilation of cyber into the operational arena for each physical domain.  The fundamental question was whether these programs included courses, occasional conferences, war gaming exercises or other forms of training for their officers to be exposed to cybersecurity issues and gain the knowledge necessary to integrate cyber capabilities and information activities with other U.S. government actions.

    The report finds that much remains to be done. Although the report praises the increased effort by military graduate programs to develop new content for cyber education—especially in comparison to the much slower or nonexistent progress in American civilian universities—a preparation gap still persists. In brief, there remains a significant imbalance between the evident need to educate all military leaders about the complexities of cyberspace and the marginal role that cyber education still plays in some of the JPME institutions evaluated. The different level of exposure to cyber education and training seems more striking when comparing some of these graduate programs that should, at least in theory, offer similar joint professional military education curricula.

    To download a copy of the report, click here.

  • Robert Whitcomb Joins New Class of Fellows at Pell Center

    Scholars and Practitioners will support wide-ranging efforts in public affairs and international relations

    Newport, RI—The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University today announced the addition of five new fellows to its growing cohort of scholars and practitioners.  With distinguished careers in journalism and the academy, the group is the second to join the Pell Center since the creation of its fellows program last autumn.

    Adjunct Fellow

    Mr. Robert Whitcomb
    Day Job:
    Vice President/Editorial Page Editor of the Providence Journal
    Areas of Expertise: Media, Renewable Energy, Healthcare, New England Culture, Business, Politics, International Affairs, Developing World Economics

    After having been educated in New England and New York schools, Bob Whitcomb embarked on a 43-year career in writing and editing, mostly as a journalist. Beginning as a writer at the Boston Herald Traveler after college, he worked subsequently at the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal and was an editor at The Wall Street Journal where, among other things, he occasionally wrote the World-Wide column. Whitcomb later became the financial editor of the International Herald Tribune, based in Paris. He has been editorial-page editor at The Providence Journal since 1992, and also vice president since 1997.  There he also helped plan annual public-affairs conferences with Brown University. Along the way Whitcomb has written and reported for such national magazines as Newsweek and The Weekly Standard, been the editor of several books and international newsletters and co-written a book called Cape Wind.  Whitcomb has co-hosted a weekly public-affairs show on television and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio.

    Faculty Fellows

    Dr. Emily Colbert Cairns
    Day Job:
    Assistant Professor of Modern and Classical Languages, Salve Regina University
    Areas of Expertise: Early Modern Spain and Latin America, Diaspora and Sephardic Studies

    Dr. Emily Colbert Cairns was born in New York and did her graduate work in Spanish literature in California. Her research explores crypto-Jews and conversos in the Early Modern period and the larger Sephardic Diaspora. She studies how women through material practice preserve culture and religious tradition.


    Professor Robin L. Hoffman
    Day Job:
    Professor and Chairwoman of Administration and Justice, Salve Regina University
    Areas of Expertise:  Juvenile Justice

    Robin L. Hoffmann, J.D. is a Professor of Administration of Justice and the Chair of the Administration of Justice Department at Salve Regina University.  Professor Hoffmann’s focus has been in the field of juvenile justice and family violence.  She served as Vice Chair and Chair of the Rhode Island Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and as a member of the Governor’s Justice Commission.  She has been a member of the RI Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Task Force, chairing its Juvenile Subcommittee, and has worked with the RI Family Court Truancy Court in planning conferences at Salve Regina University. Professor Hoffmann is a graduate of New York University and Rutgers University School of Law and is a member of the NY Bar. She is the Pre-Law Advisor for Salve Regina University.

    Dr. Jon Bernard Marcoux
    Day Job:
    Assistant Professor of Cultural and Historic Preservation
    Areas of Expertise: Cultural and Historic Preservation, Cultural Heritage Management, Historic Preservation Law, Archaeology, Native American Policy

    Dr. Jon Bernard Marcoux is an archaeologist who specializes in cultural and historic preservation and the study of late prehistoric and early historic Native American Indian societies. He has over 15 years of professional experience serving as a preservation consultant for private firms and government agencies across the southeastern U.S.  As a teacher and researcher, he explores the role of public policy in balancing the benefits of economic development with the need to protect our cultural heritage locally and nationally.

    Ms. Susannah Strong
    Day Job:
    Lecturer of Art, Salve Regina University
    Areas of Expertise: Art in the Public Sphere. Art as a Vehicle for Reinterpreting Space and Reevaluating the Environment.

    Susannah Strong received an undergraduate degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree in visual arts/textiles from Goldsmiths College, University of London.  Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and England, and is included in the private collections of playwright Edward Albee as well as the late Sol Lewitt and curator Walter Hopps.  Strong is a three-time recipient of Individual Fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts: twice in Three Dimensional Art and once in New Genres. She has been nominated for both a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and the Saint-Gauden’s Memorial Fellowship.   In addition to her studio practice and teaching, Strong worked in the field of historic preservation for over eight years. She has helped to conserve many of the historic mansion museums that surround the Salve campus.

    With these additions, the Pell Center now has 20 fellows who specialize in a diverse range of fields, from cybersecurity and healthcare to national security, international relations, and human rights.

    “I am delighted by the continued growth and energy we see at the Pell Center,” said Dr. Jim Ludes, the center’s director, “but mostly I’m grateful to this distinguished group for what I know will be a body of meaningful contributions to the public dialogue on important issues.”  He continued, “We’re building a team that reflects the strengths and identity of Salve Regina University: from the policies that support cultural and historic preservation, to healthcare, education, and broader national and international issues.  It’s an exciting time to work here and these new fellows will make an immediate impact.”

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