Monthly Archives: October 2019

Borah Symposium: Climate and Conflict

by Annabelle Day

Idaho Public Radio

The Borah Symposium held a talk on the “Considerations on the U.S. Navy and Climate in the Arctic” on Tuesday, October 8, at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

CAPT Shaun C. McAndrew, commanding officer of the UI-WSU Naval ROTC Battalion and a professor of Naval Science, discussed the conditions of conflict that are emerging in the Arctic as the ice melts and polar navigation for ships that are not ice breakers is becoming a reality.

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(Photo by Annabelle Day)

McAndrew explained that the thinning of the Arctic ice has made it easier for marine travel through this area, leading to an increase in traffic. In 2008, 120 vessels traveled through the Arctic. As of 2016, that number more than doubled to 290 boats. The routes required to access the Arctic are narrow and shallow, so as the numbers grow, the risk of grounding or collision increases.

“The increased shipping increases the potential demand for search and rescue efforts, creating a strain on existing maritime assets,” said McAndrew.

McAndrew said that an issue arose when Russia claimed certain sections of the ocean as its own, while the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea would say that it is “high seas,” or belonging to no one.

There is a concern of these straits becoming strategic during times of conflict, McAndrew said. Also, in this day and age, security in these trade routes is vital to the global economy. 90% of global commerce is via the ocean, and undersea communication cables transmit more than 95% of international phone and internet traffic. Full access to the high seas is vital for maintaining these assets.

“This context is essential to understanding why not only the U.S. Navy but the U.S. Coast Guard, actually the whole of the U.S. government, is looking at the Arctic in a very different way,” said McAndrew.

According to McAndrew, the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Department of Defense, have come together to build Arctic awareness, work with allies to maintain stability in the Arctic, and to operate in the Arctic more, serving as a deterrence to “other entities taking advantage of the situation when no one is there.” The end goal of the U.S. is to maintain the existing stability and prosperity that Arctic nations hold.

“The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard are forefront in their thought process and planning to address the uncertainty in order to maintain the peace and be ready to defend our homeland,” said McAndrew.

CAPT McAndrew reported to the University of Idaho NROTC Unit as Commanding Officer in July 2017. Her personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Strike/Flight Medal (first award), Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), and the Air Force Achievement Medal.

Posted October 22, 2019

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Science Diplomacy as a Tool for International Engagement

by Krystal Mullins

Idaho Public Radio

Dr. Bill Colglazier, a former science advisor to the Secretary of State and current advisor to the United Nations, spoke at the University of Idaho in Moscow on September 9 about science diplomacy and its use to generate relations with foreign countries.

“In this globalized interconnective world, I find that every country wants to build up their capacity in science and technology. They see that as key if they’re going to have a secure, prosperous country.” Colglazier said in an interview during his visit to the U of I.

Despite individual priorities each country has, Colglazier believes that common goals of reducing poverty, expanding education, and accelerating economic growth tend to be universally accepted.

“All 190 countries of the world subscribed to these broad goals as targets, and they recognize that if they’re going to make progress moving forward in these areas, they’re going to have to do a better job at harnessing science and technology.” Colglazier said.

“For the U.S., engaging in science and technology is a great asset, because even if the countries don’t like our government, they still want to engage with our universities, high tech private companies, and with our research institutions,” Colglazier continued.

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(Krystal Mullins photo)

Even though there have been some disputes recently on diplomacy, Colglazier still believes that the United States is a leader on this front and many countries still look to the U.S. as a model.

“One of the greatest diplomatic successes of the United States was having our universities attract students from other countries,” said Colglazier, “We have influenced people from around the world by what our universities do and our engagements.”

In his experience, Colglazier believes it is in the United States’ best interest to try and build up every society and make them more knowledge based. This includes working on improving education to ensure more highly trained individuals, leading to other countries contributing to advancements in science and technology globally.

“Young students around the world are very similar. They’re idealistic, they want to make the world a better place and use their expertise to contribute to these greater goals,” Colglazier said.

Science diplomacy can be the tool of engagement when interacting with other countries, and Colglazier believes scientists and experts have a significant part to play in government and public understanding.

“There are these broader issues that affect the globe whether that’s dealing with the climate or oceans, and scientists and technologists have an important role in helping countries understand how they will be affected,” Colglazier said.

Colglazier’s visit was organized by the College of Science, the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, and the Martin Institute at the U of I.

Posted October 17, 2019

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Collaboration, Leadership Were Keys to Pullman-Moscow Airport Runway Project

Collaboration and leadership were keys to the the new runway alignment project at the  Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:07)

Listen:

Elliot Black, the director of airport policy at the FAA,  said the first time he heard about the proposal for a new runway at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, he thought, what could possibly be so complicated?

Elliot Black: “And until I came out, and got the briefing, I didn’t get it. But having come out and heard it, and heard it loud and clear from the communities, and seeing the level of commitment from the universities, from the communities, from the public entities and private entities that came together, that doesn’t just happen by accident. That takes strong leadership.”

Black was among the many speakers at the October 10th ribbon cutting for the new runway who cited collaboration and leadership as keys to the project. Here’s Washington U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers:

McMorris-Rodgers: “It really is an example of a local community coming together, imagining what’s possible, and getting it done.”

Specifically, speakers cited the work of Airport Director Tony Bean over the past several years to see the project through. Bean himself told the crowd that large projects require serious drive, and drive comes from belief, and he said he always believed in this project.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted October 11, 2019

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“Climate Change has clearly become a driver of conflict”

by Glenn Mosley

Idaho Public Radio

“Climate Change has clearly become a driver of conflict,” former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power told a full house at the 2019 Borah Symposium at the University of Idaho.

This year’s symposium centered on “Climate and Conflict,” and Power delivered the keynote presentation on October 9.

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“Unlike threats like nuclear proliferation, or even this human rights recession,” Power told the audience, “Climate is the rare challenge about which each of us can do something immediately. Whether that is working to elect state and local officials who will pledge…to meet and then expand the Paris commitments; or divesting from carbon intensive companies, as a number of religious institutions and philanthropic organizations have already done; there’s lots to be done, and there’s our individual practices, how we live our lives, and how we even think about our emissions and our contribution to the problem.”

Power served as the 28th United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.

She began her career as a war correspondent covering the Yugoslav Wars. From 1998 to 2002, she was the Founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and later she was Harvard’s first Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy.

“My family and I have a saying when we’re about to do something hard,” Power said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.

“All of us, I think it’s safe to say, feel small in the face of climate change. All of us prepared to confront the facts and the science are afraid for our kids, our grandkids, and our planet, our natural world.

“But we really don’t have the luxury of allowing ourselves to be daunted by the gravity of the challenge. We, somehow, together, collectively, have to do our part, as citizens, potentially as well as public servants, as members of the private sector, as teachers, in so many roles, in this struggle, but we each have to do our part to return the United States to a leadership role and to help rally the world to address this gargantuan crisis.

“We need to overcome our fear of failure and find the courage and the resilience…to make up for lost time,” Power said.

During her day at the Borah Symposium, Power met with students from the Martin Institute. “I try to meet them where they are,” Power told us in an interview.  “They’re asking the question in a way that I wouldn’t have been at their age. They’re saying, what can I do? I want to make things different than they are right now.”

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This was the 72nd Borah Symposium at the University of Idaho. Since, 1948, the symposium has brought together world leaders, diplomats, scholars and activists to discuss current problems and offer solutions.

Past presenters have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Church, Thurgood Marshall, Stephen Jay Gould, David Halberstam, and  Philip Habib.

Posted October 10, 2019

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