Southeast, Washington, D.C., Think Tank to Host Global Trends Seminar April 11

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 1, 2008 — Southeast Missouri State University and the Global Strategy Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) are hosting “The Next America,” a unique, half-day seminar that will address how significant social, economic, environmental, and political issues will impact the United States and its role as a global citizen in the next 20 years. 

“While it is always dangerous to try to predict the future, the experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., are the people our nation’s top leaders look to when they are setting priorities for governmental policy on the major issues facing the world,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

The seminar is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, in the University Center at Southeast. The seminar brings together key CSIS scholars and 29 Southeast students who were chosen to participate in an intensive week-in-residence at CSIS over spring break this semester.  CSIS is a nonpartisan and nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based think tank established in 1962.

“Southeast Missouri State University is fortunate that we have been able to develop a relationship with CSIS that puts our best students in contact with these experts for an entire week over spring break, and gives them a much better understanding of the issues they will face over the next 25 years – issues such as the rise of international competitors, the environment, international financial crises, global energy usage, population pressures, and others,” Dobbins said.

Dr. Fred Janzow, vice provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said, “The week students spent at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., was a transforming experience for them.  The students interacted with some of America’s top national policy advisors regarding the most significant international issues that the United States and other countries must resolve over the next 20 years.” 

The seminar April 11 “is an opportunity to hear two of the experts from Washington who will be making presentations on global issues, including the energy policies,” Janzow said.

The “Next America” seminar brings to our campus from the CSIS staff two of the nation’s leading futurists – Dr. Erik Peterson and Frank Verrastro – and also gives our students an opportunity to share with our faculty, staff, other students, and the broader community some of what they learned at this year’s seminar in Washington, Dobbins said.

“Dr. Peterson is internationally known for his analyses of current trends on a variety of significant issues,” he said. “The author of several publications, he is completing a book on global strategic trends and their effects on governance structures in societies across the world. He has spoken before numerous groups and lectured in 14 countries.

“Verrastro has lectured at Harvard, American University, the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, National Defense University, and the Foreign Service Institute,” Dobbins added. “He has been a frequent presenter on energy policy panels at Johns Hopkins University, the Brookings Institution, Meridian House International, the National Press Club, and on NPR.”

Verrastro is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on energy and was a co-author of two major national reports: the 2007 National Petroleum Council report “Hard Truths: Facing the Hard Truths About Energy;” and the 2006, Council on Foreign Relations report “National Security Consequences of U. S. Oil Dependency,” he said.

“We are delighted to have both Peterson and Verrastro here on the same day,” Dobbins said. “This is a rare opportunity for people in this area to hear speakers with such expertise on the major trends that will affect the lives of all of us.” Peterson, senior vice president and director, CSIS Global Strategy Institute, opens the morning session in the University Center Ballroom with his presentation “The Class of 2025,” a discussion about the top issues American graduates will face in their futures.  Peterson holds the William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis at CSIS and leads the Seven Revolutions Initiative, a broad-based effort to forecast key trends out to the year 2025 and 2050.

Verrastro, director and senior fellow, CSIS Energy and National Security Program, outlines how the United States can address its current and future energy challenges with his keynote luncheon presentation, “Managing the Transformation to a Sustainable Energy Future,” in the University Center Ballroom.  Verrastro’s energy-related experience includes more than 25 years in energy policy and project management positions in both the U.S. government and the private sector.  He formerly held a White House Staff position with Energy Policy and Planning and was a senior vice president for Pennzoil.

In addition, Southeast students from the CSIS Senior Seminar Course will present their presidential policy recommendations on economic integration, energy, human rights, international security, natural resources, and population at two mid-morning sessions in the University Center Indian and Missouriana Rooms.

“By the students’ own accounts, the work at the CSIS (during spring break) was a life-changing experience for them.  The seminar on April 11 is an opportunity for others on campus and in the regional community to hear the students present their advice to the next president of the United States regarding policies needed to resolve global issues,” Janzow said. 

Seating is open for all three of the morning sessions, and these can be attended separately.  Tickets are required for luncheon attendance and are limited.  For more information about the seminar and to register for luncheon tickets, call Continuing Education at (573) 986-6879 or visit http://www.semo.edu/continuinged.