November 2, 2013
November 2, 2013
November 2, 2013
7:30am – 6:00pm
The Greater Columbus Convention Center
400 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
United Nations General Assembly Symposium
Delegates will be predominantly professionals with committee chairs being college/university students.
This symposium is presented by the United Nations Association, Columbus Chapter. The Columbus Council on World Affairs is proud to be a promotional partner.
According to GALLUP, US perception of the United Nations while improving still sits at a low 42% approval rating (May 2011). How much public knowledge and trust in the ambassadors at the UN play a part is unknown, but on November 2, 2013 the people of Columbus, Ohio will have the chance to place their own stamp on the policy and actions of the United Nations. For the very first time, the adult community, not just Middle School, High School, or College students, will have the opportunity to act as delegates of the 193 member countries of the United Nations.
During the registration process, individuals may choose to work within the following UN Organizations:
UN Security Council
UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UN Development Program ( UNDP)
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
UN Women – UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
World Food Program (WFP)
UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
UN Environment Program (UNEP)
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Commission for Social Development (CSocD)
Commission for Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)
Division for Sustainable Development – Employing the New Generation (DSD)
World Health Organization (WHO)
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Department of Political Affairs (DPA)
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)
This is a fully sanctioned model of the United Nations, with representation from the UN offices in New York and the US State Department to observe the proceedings. All resolutions composed and passed by the participants will be taken to the UN offices in New York for consideration and potential action by the ambassadors. The objective of this event is to provide an opportunity for educating the public about the process of the United Nations, and also create a lens in which to bring focus to the public discourse on a variety of global issues, with measurable and tangible results.
For more information and to register, please click here.
The Council’s programming and educational outreach have greatly expanded our community’s awareness of global cultures and issues.
- Michael Coleman,
Mayor of the City of Columbus
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Immigration Reform- What’s at Stake?
March 27, 2013
By Brooke Mangiarelli
Today, U.S. Senators from the ”Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of eight senators who have been working together to draft immigration legislation, are traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona in light of new proposals that will strengthen border security and create a 13-year path to legal citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living throughout the U.S. Originally anticipated to be completed by March, the pending Senate plan will cover a range of issues facing current immigrant laws, including new visa programs to bring lower-skilled workers into the U.S. while limiting family-based immigration laws. Although these new prospects for reform show bipartisan cooperation and opportunity for the largest U.S. immigration reform in almost thirty years, limiting family-based immigration is exactly what many people are warning against.
At a Columbus Council on World Affairs event last week, Drs. Nancy Powers and Ines Valdez addressed the importance of family reunification and the current challenges facing immigration reform. Dr. Powers commented on the lengthy periods of separation that family members of U.S. residents endure when applying for family visas: “the line is too long to reunite with family members; 20 years from now is unwieldy and cruel to families.” She says that this is detrimental not only to the migrant families, but to the host society as well. “Family reunification forms a commitment to someplace,” she said, adding that when many members of a family feel a sense of ownership over “how WE do”– in our schools and other institutions and neighborhoods– communities fare better and experience greater integration.
As a result of current U.S. immigration policy, many immigrant families are separated for decades before being able to enter the U.S. on a family visa, which are only available to immediate family members. These include the children, parents, and spouses of U.S. citizens over the age of and the siblings of U.S. citizens; grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins are ineligible for family visas under current policy. During the time in which family members are applying for a visa, they are often unable to visit the U.S., and if the quota for family visas for the prospective year has already been met, family members are forced to wait until the following year to reapply. It is not uncommon for immigrant spouses or children of U.S. citizens to face a two to six year separation period before family visas become available to them.
According to the U.S. Department of State, 4.4 million immigrants have petitions for permanent residence that are pending as of November 2012, 97% of which were applications for family-based visas. The Migration Policy Institute states that since only 226,000 family-based visas are approved each year, it would take 19 years to catch up on all pending family visas. Immigrants from Mexico and the Philippines also hold the longest wait times for family-based visas, which could mean up to a 25-year wait for siblings of U.S. citizens.
Many views on immigration policies have also become skewed as a result of post-9/11 rhetoric. However, while some reject the notion of welcoming new citizens and workers into U.S., some communities have embraced it.
In October 2011, officials from Dayton, OH gave unanimous approval to the “Welcome Dayton” plan, which declared Dayton an “immigrant friendly city” in attempts to boost the city’s declining population. The plan included initiatives in local business and government, education, health services, and other areas aimed to make assimilation into Dayton’s community easier for immigrants and to advocate for fair treatment of all of its citizens. The Welcome Dayton plan also provides some insight into America’s historical stance on immigration when certain interests affected by immigration are at stake, and the tendency of countries and communities to sway their opinions on immigration so as to best serve their interests: “The U.S. has a checkered history of welcoming and rejecting new people. The complaints heard historically are, ‘They will take our jobs,’ ‘they don’t want to learn English,’ ‘they won’t integrate into our culture,’ and similar statements are heard today about immigrants. However, our history also shows that, given time and respect, acceptance and assimilation is generally, if not universally, the norm. The question is, will we learn from history, i.e. repeat the criticisms and resistance, or provide the welcome to our newest residents?”
In the face of immigration reform, are U.S. policies becoming more welcoming as a means to benefit American business and economy?
Watch the video of CCWA’s immigration forum to learn why the featured experts argued that:
-Demand for labor (as needed to pick tomatoes before they rot on the vine for example) does not match what the current immigration laws will allow
-Displacement of Mexican farmers caused by US policies drives immigration to the US
-Immigration is difficult to untangle from post 9/11 rhetoric relating to Homeland Security and this has affected movement on policy
-Columbus can learn a lot from San Francisco and Illinois
-“Free Trade agreements are between countries that are unequal” and hence should not be the only binding framework that dictates policies
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Gun Control in Ohio and Around the World
February 14, 2013
By Brooke Mangiarelli
“In the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from out lives by a bullet from a gun,” announced President Obama during his State of the Union address. In the last few minutes of his hour-long address Wednesday evening, the majority of which had been focused on jobs and the economy, President Obama urged Congress to vote on his serious of new gun proposals.
The President’s new proposal includes twenty-three executive actions and a number of legislative actions that will require Congressional mandate, which may prove to be a difficult fight. The mandate of criminal background checks for all gun sales, including firearms sold by private and unlicensed sellers at gun shows (which currently require no background checks) is one of the major legislative actions for which President Obama is pushing. The President is also calling for bans on rifle magazines that exceed ten rounds and the civilian possession of armor-piercing bullets, and the reinstatement and strengthening of a ban on assault weapons that was previously in place from 1994 to 2004. These proposals are being met with a great deal of skepticism and outrage by some American citizens and members of Congress who believe that the current administration is trying to infringe upon their second amendment right to bear arms. Yet, there are ample studies and high profile news stories through the years which indicate that an examination of gun policy is overdue, especially in Ohio.
Ohio’s policies, crime data, and stakeholders (among them a major gun manufacturer) are intertwined around this debate – with implications beyond its state border and the US border.
John Firman, Director of Research for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, calls gun trafficking a “rampant” national problem that often goes unrecognized. Unfortunately, the Buckeye state has been known to illegally traffic guns the East Coast, due in part to its closeness to major cities with stricter gun laws, like New York. Reports show that this problem also contributes to drug crimes in Mexico, where private gun sales are illegal. According to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, “70 percent of firearms recovered and traced in drug cartel crimes in Mexico originated from the United States.” Now that the effects of illegal gun trafficking through Ohio and other states have reached other countries like Mexico, this national problem has become a global one, with local and global consequences.
In states like Ohio that lack strict gun control legislation, this new set of laws might be necessary to cut down on crime rates and illegal gun exports. In 2010, a report released by the Children’s Defense Fund showed found that Ohio ranked tenth in the nation for firearm-related deaths of teens and children in 2007. Barbara Turpin of CDF-Ohio called for stricter gun laws in 2010, claiming that “states with higher rates of gun ownership and weak gun control laws have the highest rates of firearms deaths, so we need to get the federal and state legislative processes involved here to come up with stronger, common sense gun laws.” In 2012, the total number of homicides in Columbus reached 90, with 9 homicides in Franklin County; firearms were responsible for 79.8% of these deaths.
In October 2012, a New York appeals court ruled that teenage gunshot victim Daniel Williams could sue Mansfield, Ohio-based gun manufacturer Beemiller Inc. and its sole distributor, MKS Supply, for selling criminals the gun that was used to shoot him. In 2003, Williams was playing basketball outside his neighbor’s house in Buffalo, NY when he was mistaken for a rival gang member, shot, and almost killed. The gun used to shoot Williams was then traced back to a sale at an Ohio gun show, during which an Ohio woman and her three companions bought as many as 181 Hi-Point pistols from MKS Supply owner Charles Brown; at least 141 of these guns were later sold illegally on the streets of Buffalo. In order to avoid suspicion from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that comes with one person buying a large amount of firearms at one time, the buyers conducted what is known as a “straw purchase.” During a straw purchase, people buy guns for someone who either cannot legally purchase one or does not want to have ties to the purchase. In this case, one of the buyers picked out the guns and paid for them, but had the other three companions fill out the paperwork. These straw purchases are common in illegal gun sales, and are one of the things President Obama plans to crack down on with his new gun control proposals. Hi-Point model guns, like the one used to shoot Williams, account for both the majority of illegally purchased guns in federal cases that were prosecuted in Northern Ohio and over sixty percent of guns sold in Northern Ohio straw purchases since 2006. They have also been linked to shootings like the 1999 Columbine shooting.
In 2006, Mark Nelson, a former Columbus police officer, plead guilty to falsifying paperwork involved in a straw purchase of over 300 firearms. Unable to buy guns legally due to a pending “road rage incident,” Nelson enlisted five people, including family members and a drug dealer, to illegally purchase them for him. Through these straw purchases, Nelson acquired a total of 501 illegal firearms and sold them all over the country. Guns purchased from Nelson and used in crimes have been found in Minnesota, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Washington D.C, and along the Canadian border. Perhaps the most unsettling thing about Nelson’s case is that over 300 of the guns he purchased illegally are still missing.
Want to compare United States gun policy with the rest of the world? Check out gunpolicy.org for data-driven, academically verified research.
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The Pressure to Cheat
January 9, 2013
By Brooke Mangiarelli
The research-based methods used by the Columbus Council on World Affairs’ professional staff to facilitate global education learning experiences for Central Ohio youth are supported by its community of stakeholders — be they funders, students, teachers, parents, or school district leaders. However, in conversations with these various partners, it is clear that motivations for wanting globally competent graduates are very different. Whether it’s school districts competing for ratings or students competing to get into college, states competing for business, or countries competing for their piece of the global pie, competition is a driving force in the world of education.
But while some competition pushes students and teachers to work harder, the pressure on individuals can often become too much and, at the system-level, diminish the reputation of hard working students and teachers.
This past December, the father of a former Medina Middle School student filed a class-action lawsuit against the Columbus school district because he believed students had been “cheated out of a solid education” as a result of allegations of student-data inflation that were brought against the district in June. This data inflation, also known as “scrubbing,” allowed district officials to break students’ records of continuous enrollment by withdrawing and re-enrolling students with poor attendance and low test scores; since only students with continuous enrollment are counted toward a district’s overall pass-rate, this enhanced Columbus schools’ attendance and inflated district test scores. These allegations launched a statewide investigation by state auditor David Yost, the results of which were released last month. The FBI also launched its own investigation in October to determine whether or not money was misappropriated because of the data manipulation.
The results of Yost’s investigation showed that evidence of scrubbing has been found in all ten Columbus districts examined and 300 students were found to have been unlawfully withdrawn from school and re-enrolled. State investigators are also now investigating whether or not school employees enhanced student grades after teachers had entered them into the school system. Once the statewide investigation is finished, there is a “strong likelihood” that state officials will refer Columbus school employees for criminal prosecution. As of last week, Columbus City Schools has also become the only district that will have to pay for its portion of the auditor’s investigation.
This type of cheating is not unique to K-12 school districts or the Columbus area of course; in recent years it has also manifested itself on a global stage as well.
Due in part to China’s growing, wealthy middle class and its emphasis on higher education, the number of Chinese undergraduates studying in the U.S. has significantly increased from 10,000 to almost 57,000 students in the past five years alone. This recent phenomenon has also created a large market in China for college counseling services and admissions agents whose sole purpose is to do whatever is necessary to secure Chinese students spots at top American universities. In many cases, this includes writing recommendation letters, application essays, and even falsifying grade transcripts and test scores for foreign students. Many of these agents often charge between six to ten thousand dollars per student, and in some cases, if a student gains admission to a highly ranked or Ivy League school, agents are able to charge twice as much. Contracts also currently exist between agents and some U.S. universities that guarantee the agents a commission for every international student they enroll. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling has a policy against this type of recruitment, but investigation of overseas recruitment has halted policy enforcement, and no federal law currently exists that prohibits paying commissions for international recruitment.
In 2010, Zinch China, a consultation service on China for U.S. universities, reported that 90% of student recommendation letters were fake, 70% of essays were not actually composed by students, and about 50% of grade transcripts were falsified. The study also found that admissions agents assisted about 80% of Chinese students applying to American universities. According to Zinch Chairman Tom Melcher, “the world of higher education is becoming extremely competitive and I think the kids are looking for an edge- everyone is looking around and saying, ‘well, everyone else is cheating, why shouldn’t I?’
Patrick Terrien, CCWA’s President & CEO, on a leadership mission to China last year, recalls the demanding lifestyle of a 16 year-old Beijing student named Lan in her junior year of high school. Like many high school juniors in China, Lan had set aside all extracurricular activities and distractions and devoted herself to fourteen-hour school days, five days a week in order to prepare for national exams that would determine the future of her education. The pressure for children in China to succeed in education is “beyond what I know in the United States,” he recalls.
One factor that is often overlooked in the fight for higher education is how these practices affect the quality of education student’s are receiving. Phillip Ballinger, the University of Washington’s assistant vice president for enrollment, believes these practices “ultimately lower the quality of education for all those involved, and “makes the student an ‘economic object.’’’
According to the Institute for International Education’s 2012 Open Doors report that was released during this year’s International Education Week, The Ohio State University is now ranked in the top ten nationally for international student enrollment. Of the 110 different countries Ohio State’s international students come from, China accounts for the greatest majority of students.
Although these findings of cheating, falsifying, and manipulation are unnerving at both the global and local levels, what do they say about our education system and cheating in general? Is growing pressure in a world that’s becoming increasingly competitive pushing students and school officials alike to the point where bending the rules is deemed acceptable? How are these factors affecting the quality of education for students, both internationally and locally? And, how might Mayor Coleman’s recently-announced Education Commission be effective in addressing this and other problems in the region’s largest school district?
In spite of the auditor’s investigation, we as a community should look for more opportunities to highlight excellence in education – the application of globally-vetted best practices, the bringing together of international teaching professionals to learn from and apply each others’ proven strategies, the use of technology to bridge global borders. CCWA remains committed to shining a spotlight on what works in education in Central Ohio and will this year unroll a new Classroom Resources page showcasing Local Stars in Global Education among other features. And, in March, we will honor an educator or team of educators at our annual ”International Awards Ceremony,” bringing together over 600 of our community’s leaders. Where you know about exemplary efforts and innovations, we hope you will tell us about them!
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Is China to blame?
November 20, 2012
By Brooke Mangiarelli
“From Day One, I will pursue a comprehensive strategy to confront China’s unfair trade practices and ensure a level playing field where our businesses can compete and win,” pledged Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the final Presidential debate.
In the final months of the 2012 election season, dealing with China’s questionable economic policies became a top priority in both Presidential candidates’ political agendas. Mitt Romney made China a key part of his campaign platform, vowing to label the world’s second largest economy as a currency manipulator on his first day in office and criticizing President Obama for a lack of earlier action against China. Under scrutiny for not being tough enough with China, President Obama filed a case against China at the WTO in September for illegally subsidizing its auto exports.
China’s manufacturing of cheaper products nearly identical to American products has also lead to allegations that the superpower is stealing American intellectual property and technology. According to both candidates, Chinese practices like these are hindering America’s manufacturing ability and economy.
However, as it became harder to distinguish fact from political rhetoric during the election, an undecided voter might have wondered “is China really the one to blame for America’s declining job market and current economic state?”
Dr. Oded Shenkar, Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and Professor of Management and Human Resources at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, provided a unique perspective during a recent Columbus Council on World Affairs signature luncheon, “China: Opportunity or Threat?” During his address, Dr. Shenkar suggested that America has found it convenient to blame China. He acknowledges that the superpower is responsible for a lot of things, but questioned its responsibility for U.S. corporations becoming less competitive in the global marketplace.
According to Dr. Shenkar, short-term election tactics against China are not the answer. Instead, what the United States needs is to push China aside and fix its own problems first, without focusing on a scapegoat. In a special correspondence to CNN this September, Dr. Shenkar suggested long-term strategies to combat China’s competitive edge, like considering current U.S. regulations that discourage companies from building plants in America. “There are things under our control that undermine our competitiveness in relation not only to China, but to numerous other countries,” Shenkar suggested.
During the luncheon, Dr. Shenkar also suggested that the United States conceptualize China as a reflection of its own policies. Now post election, U.S. Congress faces what is referred to as a “fiscal cliff” and some grooming is in order. When the nation looks at its reflection, will it see its own flaws or the dark shadow of China looming in the background? What does the election outcome say to you about the populace’s preferred approaches to solving both immediate domestic budget matters and longer term approaches?
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Climate Change and Its Place in the 2012 Election
October 2, 2012
By Brooke Mangiarelli
Extreme weather events directly linked to climate change plagued the U.S. throughout the summer of 2012. New heat records, wildfires, warming lakes and streams, insect problems, and the worst national drought in 50 years provided substantial evidence of global climate change. According to a report issued by the National Wildlife Federation, extreme drought conditions caused the United States Department of Agriculture to make the largest disaster declaration in national history. Increased climates also facilitated the potential for disease transmission among mosquitos and other insects, which resulted in the largest and most serious outbreak of the West Nile Virus throughout the U.S. in thirteen years. Thirty-six counties in Ohio contributed to the 3,545 reported West Nile cases across the country, at least 147 of which were fatal. In Columbus, 110 pools of mosquitos tested positive for the virus in 2012, compared to the 12 positive pools just last year.
Despite these palpable illustrations, the American public and both Mitt Romney and President Obama remain largely divided on the threat of climate change and its place in the national agenda. The “economy is the story” of the 2012 election this year, after all. Not the environment. But, what if the state of the planet was linked to economic indicators? What if it had security implications (and by extension, additional economic implications)? Would that change the public discourse? Tomorrow’s Presidential Debate may or may not include discussion of climate change. But, there is certainly evidence that it should.
A study called the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, which was commissioned by twenty of the world’s governments whose nations are most threatened by climate change, concluded that climate change is responsible for 400,000 deaths around the world annually, as well as nearly 1,000 children casualties daily. In addition to the striking death toll, findings show that climate change is also costing the global economy 1.2 trillion dollars a year.
At the Republican National Convention in August 2012, the Republican Party criticized President Obama’s National Security Strategy for recognizing climate change as a national threat equal to that of foreign aggression. Despite GOP attacks that “climate” appeared in the strategy more often than “weapons of mass destruction” or “Al Qaeda,” there is substantial evidence to support that climate change should be considered a threat to national security. According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, rising sea levels, severe droughts, and other natural disasters caused by climate change all raise the need for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which has a dramatic effect on U.S. national security.
Unfortunately, the existence of climate change is still contested across the political spectrum. Results from a study done by the University of Texas in July 2012 showed that only 53% of Republicans believed that climate change was occurring. The numbers were slightly higher among other prospective voters, with 87% of Democrats and 72% of Independents acknowledging its existence. Such a lack of uniform acceptance of the presence of climate change may be a result of the fact that climate change has been largely ignored throughout the current election.
According to a study done by Ohio State professor J. Craig Jenkins, the main factors that influence public opinion about the threat of climate change are the positions taken by political leaders in Washington; when political leaders are divided on the issue of climate change, the national public is also unable to agree on a position. It is no surprise that Democrats and Republicans are still unable to agree on the threat of climate change, considering the divergent positions of both presidential candidates and the lack of attention climate change has received so far in the 2012 election. Instead, U.S. energy policy has become a much more contested debate, the outcome of which will have a significant impact on climate change as well as global living conditions and U.S. national security, all of which are fundamentally linked.
Many of President Obama’s energy policy objectives aim to reduce the emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses, which are the leading cause of climate change. These objectives include maintaining the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, as well as incentives for forms of renewable energy. In contrast, Mitt Romney’s policy objectives aim to remove EPA regulations, (which he believes disrupt U.S. coal development) as well as tax incentives for alternative energy wind projects. Republicans in congress have also moved to cut military spending on alternative fuels.
In lieu of the climate change debate and divergent energy policies, some Republicans are presenting new alternative policy objectives that aim to combat climate change from a conservative approach. Bob Inglis, a former South Carolina Representative, is proposing a free market approach to address climate change that would eliminate government incentives, including alternative energy tax breaks as well as subsidies for oil companies. This free enterprise proposition would also impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels, which Inglis would offset with another tax on work, income, or capital in order to keep neutral revenue. According to Inglis, America already pays more for the costs of climate change, just in hidden ways like “detrimental health impacts from coal-fired power plants or high insurance costs from extreme weather linked to greenhouse gases,” which Inglis also believes “leaves fossil fuel companies unaccountable.”
With the first presidential debate tomorrow, several groups have taken action to urge moderator Jim Lehrer to incorporate a question about climate change into a list of topics that the debate is scheduled to cover. These topics will focus mainly on U.S. domestic policy issues, such as the economy, health care, and governing style. Over 160,000 petitions from more than nine environmental groups have been sent to Lehrer in an attempt to give climate change the national attention it has yet to receive in the 2012 election. Since evidence shows that climate change has not only global but domestic policy implications as well, tomorrow’s presidential debate may be a key moment in this election that could raise critical awareness of the threat of climate change among American voters and elevate climate change to its rightful place in the national agenda.
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Global Economy Offers Many Opportunities
June 1, 2012
“Recent report by the Columbus Council on World Affairs provides a strong base for action”
By Richard M. Daley
Former Mayor of Chicago
Nearly three years after experts tell us the Great Recession officially “ended,” the United States remains mired in a sluggish economic recovery. The U.S. must create about 11.2 million more jobs to recover the jobs lost during the downturn and keep pace with labor-market dynamics. Beyond pure job growth, however, the U.S. needs better jobs to grow wages for lower- and middle-class workers and to reverse the troubling decades-long rise in inequality.
If there is a silver lining to the Great Recession, it is that the U.S. economy appears to be undergoing a fundamental shift from an inwardly focused, consumption-fueled growth model to one that is globally engaged and driven by production and innovation. Manufacturing has contributed nearly 38 percent to gross domestic product growth post-recession, fueling a significant jump in exports. In the past two years, exports accounted for 46 percent of GDP growth, despite comprising only 13 percent of total U.S. GDP.
Ohio is well-positioned to thrive in a more innovative, productive and export-oriented economy. It is a state driven by metropolitan areas, and metros concentrate the supermajority of people, jobs and economic output both in Ohio and the U.S. at large. Ohio’s 16 metros are home to 81 percent of the state’s population and nearly 86 percent of Ohio’s GDP. These metros also generate 77 percent of the state’s total exports and are major hubs of manufacturing in sectors that serve domestic and international markets.
Despite the large presence of state government and Ohio State University in the region’s economy, Columbus is one of Ohio’s main manufacturing and export centers. A recent report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program reveals that the Columbus region is the 29th largest manufacturing jobs center in the United States, with about 63,159 jobs in 2010. These jobs span a broad array of manufacturing sectors, including large shares in motor vehicle and parts manufacturing, food and beverage production, and nonmetallic mineral-products manufacturing — cement, bricks, glass, etc.
After a tough decade, Columbus has experienced a strong rebound in manufacturing post-recession, outpacing the national average in manufacturing job growth during the past two years.
What can a metro like Columbus do to boost its manufacturing sector and take advantage of rapidly growing markets abroad? With Washington adrift, the metro and the state would benefit from a newly sharpened focus.
At a forum last month in Columbus sponsored by the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, several major opportunities came to light.
First, the region should craft and implement a growth strategy that builds on its special position in the global economy. The recent report by the Columbus Council on World Affairs provides a strong base for action, and the business planning effort under way in northeastern Ohio provides an excellent model to replicate. Developing a unified strategy for growth will require Columbus and leaders throughout the entire eight-county metropolitan area to collaborate to compete in the global economy rather than compete against each other.
Second, the metro should forge ties to growing metros in rising nations such as China, India and Brazil. Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution argues that the 21st-century global economy is shaping up as a network of trading cities, what he calls “a new silk road.” Columbus needs to find the right partners in emerging markets and then foster relationships across the government, civic, corporate and university sectors. Businesses and local governments in the Columbus area should take advantage of their proximity to OSU as a resource for training students with skills necessary for jobs in the global economy and for assisting businesses trying to reach markets abroad.
Finally, the Columbus region should build a stronger partnership with the state, to set a solid platform for manufacturing and export growth generally, while building on the special strengths of Columbus.
Columbus is fortunate in several respects. The state’s Third Frontier program, replenished through a $700 million bond referendum in 2010, already is considered a model for state support for technological innovation. The Edison Welding Institute in Columbus, seeded originally with state resources, provides applied research and manufacturing support to firms across a range of sectors, including aerospace, automotive, defense, energy and rail.
With the formation of JobsOhio, its private economic-development corporation, Ohio appears to be serious about improving its efforts to attract foreign direct investment and empower the distinct regional economies of the state.
Ohio and Columbus have the tools to flourish in the global economy. With the federal government absent, will state and metropolitan leaders do what it takes to realize their potential?
Richard M. Daley, a former mayor of Chicago, is chairman of the Global Cities Initiative.
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April 6, 2012: Global Report Outlines Central Ohio’s Worldly Feel
April 6, 2012
By: Jeff Bell
Staff reporter-Business First
A new report paints the Columbus region as something of an international hotbed – and it has the numbers to back it up.
For instance, 644 foreign-owned businesses from 37 countries employ more than 39,000 workers in the area, while nearly 1,500 passengers fly internationally through Port Columbus International Airport on an average day. The region’s schools are a melting pot with 109 languages spoken by students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and 6,000 international students attend Ohio State University.
In addition, the Columbus region stacks up nicely in international trade to Global 500 corporate headquarters based here. The region is compared with metro areas such as Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Orlando and the always-ballyhooed Austin, Texas.
It’s all there in the Global Report, a 158-page collection of data commissioned by the Columbus Council on World Affairs in a partnership with Columbus2020, Columbus Foundation and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The nonprofit council’s mission is to increase global awareness in the Columbus region.
The purpose of the report, said council CEO Patrick Terrien, is to provide a centralized shop for all things global about the 13-county Columbus region, supporting economic development and public education efforts in the process.
“We felt bringing together this data was one great step toward giving us a baseline for how global we are,” he said. “The data helps highlight how global our community is and how many global connections we have.”
Terrien said Columbus2020, attracted by the benefits such a report can provide to its economic development efforts, was the lead investor in the project. The data will be used in discussions with business site selectors and for helping companies attract and retain workers.
Columbus2020 Chief Economic Officer Kenny McDonald has already shared data from the report in talks with companies during a recent trade mission to Europe. He also steered an international press delegation visiting Columbus to the report.
“We need to educate people about our great assets, such as the cost of (doing) business here and the talent and markets we provide,” McDonald said. “When we do that, we have a great opportunity.”
McDonald praised the quality of the data in the report and its comprehensiveness. The report was done by Community Research Partners, a nonprofit research center in Columbus.
“I’ve not seen that level of work done anywhere else,” he said. “It’s really a fantastic little project.”
The report includes 98 data tables and four sections organized by citizenship and diversity, language and education, residency and service abroad, and commerce and employment.
Among its features are how the Columbus region stacks up against 15 U.S. metropolitan areas and 15 metros in countries including India, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan and Mexico.
“The report is intended to show the numbers and start a community conversation about them,” said Devin Keithley, a Community Research Partners associate who worked on the project.
He said the report can help businesses connect the dots to opportunities they may be missing. For instance, data noting a large number of South Koreans attending Ohio State has Port Columbus officials thinking about business development opportunities with the Asian nation, Keithley said.
The Global Report is part of a larger Global Columbus effort led by the Council on World Affairs. The overarching goal, Terrien said, is to help the region thrive in a global society. To get there, the council is working with 15 community organizations on the effort. They include the city of Columbus, Franklin County, MORPC, the Columbus Partnership, Columbus2020, Columbus Foundation, TechColumbus and Ohio State University.
“It’s great to be able to say we’re working on becoming even more global,” McDonald said, adding that will help boost the region’s image in the eyes of potential international business partners.
The Global Report can be downloaded at GlobalColumbus.org.
World Affairs Councils are organizations that have greatly enriched our communities culturally and intellectually.
- Ronald Reagan,
Former United States President
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November 8, 2011
Thank you for visiting our blog. We rely on a rotating group of CCWA Web Content Interns to create original blog posts (online editorials which are based on their informed opinions), post write-ups of events, discussion prompts, and more. These entries are authored by student interns, who are NOT professionals. Our supervising staff uses editorial oversight, points students to resources, and helps them identify a line of reasoning they might pursue in organizing the structure of their entries. We invite those who are interested in submitting guest blogs to contact Stephanie Calondis-Geiger.The views expressed by interns, guest bloggers and/or those who opt to comment on blogs are not endorsed by the Columbus Council on World Affairs. CCWA is not a think tank. It is also a non-partisan educational entity. This blog is just one forum for allowing for the open exchange of ideas.
Language Education and Global Competition
February 4, 2011
By Lilly Shepherd
Web Content Intern
The United States’ ability to thrive in the global community does not come without effort and long-term planning. It also does not rely solely on negotiations between Heads of State. Rather, our success is dependent on the ability of business leaders, military personnel, and US citizens to execute a vision of cooperation in everyday life.
Hu Jintao’s recent visit to the United States laid out the realities of our interdependence with China. It magnified the deficiencies in our society that put us at risk of losing our place as a global leader – and not just with China. President Obama’s State of the Union Address then proposed a strategy for addressing this: global education.
It might not be quick, easy, or cheap, but it matters.
Here are just a few examples in point:
Speaking the language of cultural values and norms is a building-block
On the final day of his visit, Hu told an audience of business leaders in Chicago that Beijing is seeking “closer ties and greater trust” with the US on a variety of fronts, CNN reported.
The topics of discussion included human rights, North Korea, and our trade relationship.
On the issue of human rights, Hu cited “cultural differences” as the reason for our lack of common ground, especially when Taiwan and Tibet were brought up for debate.
Such “soft” skills as building trust and navigating cultural differences are not often emphasized in our educational system, especially at a time when “competition” is the international buzzword.
However, these are vital skills if our citizens are to be competitive in the global economy.
The lack of fluency and appreciation of different cultural values can lead to misinterpretation on key issues.
Speaking the actual language is another building block
The open dialogue between Hu and American politicians inspired hope and optimism in many.
However, this dialogue was slightly hindered by one thing: the conversation was conducted in two languages.
Hu took 20 minutes to answer one of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) questions.
While skeptics speculate that this was an attempt on Hu’s part to “filibuster,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) suggested that more interpreters and better knowledge of the Chinese language would have facilitated easier dialogue during the meeting.
The distance between miscommunication and volatility is short
China is proving to be an essential partner in the struggle to contain North Korean nuclear advancements and military threat.
Hu told US representatives that he has been working through “quiet negotiations” to “calm things there”, Fox News reported.
The United States needs to produce leaders who know how to quietly negotiate and can do so in a language other than English. This will ensure that misunderstandings don’t lead to violence, warfare, and/or de-stabilization in the world.
Beyond basic stability, the ability for a nation to thrive is at stake
China is an enormous economic power and trade partner with the US.
This relationship is only growing stronger, especially with Beijing’s recent approval of $45 billion in new contracts with US companies to export goods to China, which support an estimated 235,000 American jobs.
General Motors (GM) sold more cars in China than in the US in 2010, without exporting any cars from China into the US market.
The leaders in this global market are business executives, not ambassadors and heads of state.
Speculation that Americans need to work harder to develop foreign language skills is not new.
The debate over Spanish in America has been present for years due to our shared border with Mexico and high levels of Mexican immigrants in many communities.
Furthermore, a recent article in the New York Times focused on how the United States Army strongly lacked Arabic translators in Iraq and how attempts in New York City to encourage Arabic language education were met with strong criticisms, especially by supporters of Israel, who compared such programs to “terrorist training camp(s).”
The number of American students studying critical languages has increased significantly in the recent years.
Since 9/11, the number of students studying Arabic has doubled.
Chinese has seen a similar rise, even in our own backyard.
In the Gahanna-Jefferson School District of Columbus, Ohio, the number of students taking Chinese language courses has increased from 40 to 350 (5).
Hank Langhals, the coordinator for pupil services in the district, told CNN that this rise is likely due to China’s growth in economics and changes to the world balance of power, saying that they offer the language because “we owe it to our students so they can be successful part of the world, and China is a major player there.”
The Chinese Ministry of Education approved the district’s Chinese language program and gifted it $30,000 in funding.
Similar partnerships are springing up all over the country, with at least 20 schools in the US taking advantage of such opportunities.
Langhals points out that the differences in US-China politics should not prevent our students from learning about their culture and language.
As Robert Kennedy once said, “the future is not a gift.
It is an achievement.” During President Obama’s most recent State of the Union Address, he placed a great deal of emphasis on education and its ability to help Americans compete in the global economy.
“Sustaining the American dream… has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age,” he rightly pointed out.
In order to keep America the best place in the world to do business, we need to keep up with nations like China and India, whose education standards are becoming world-famous.
Placing a strong emphasis on foreign language education will help us be competitive and help foster a stronger relationship with China, as well as other global partners.
It will do wonders to maintain America’s legitimacy and power in the global community.
Our economic and military stabilities both depend strongly on our ability to communicate with and understand those with whom we are working so closely.
While many schools seem to be taking advantage of the unique funding opportunities and increased interest to build a more educated workforce, there is still much room for progress.
Rather than having this new language education be a rare occurrence in some communities, critical language should become a part of the established education curriculum nationwide.
Furthermore, it should not be merely our upper-class students who have access to such opportunities.
With education reforms under the Obama administration in our near future, it would be ideal to include a plan to increase the emphasis on this kind of critical education for children across the nation.
This kind of reform will surely create a new generation of workers who are equipped with the skills necessary to compete with the other rising global powers and help America remain one of the globe’s leaders in excellence in education, business, and progress.
TALK BACK: Should foreign language education be a standard part of the education curriculum in our nation?
And should critical languages, such as Chinese and Arabic, be more widely offered to students?
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