ASU director delivers inaugural address on 'The Constitution of Innovation'

Professor Ross Emmett defends 5 claims about innovation to kick off series 'Perspectives on Economic Liberty'

August 22, 2018

Last spring, Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, in partnership with the W. P. Carey School of Business, welcomed Ross Emmett as the new director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. The center is a hub for research and programs dedicated to evaluating the contribution of economic liberty to human prosperity and well-being.

Emmett says his vision for the center is not as a policy think tank, but rather as a unit somewhere between academic research and implementation. Ross Emmett Center for the Study of Economic Liberty Ross Emmett, director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty. Download Full Image

"If you think of the production of knowledge as a triangle," Emmett said, "with academic research at the top, the translation of research via public intellectuals in the middle, and the various ways of implementing research in public policy at the bottom, then the center would sit somewhere in the space between the academic work and the public intellectual role.”

Emmett joined ASU from Michigan State University, where he taught political economy, political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College. His specific research interests are in the history of economic thought, and in particular, the work of Adam Smith, T. Robert Malthus, and Frank H. Knight.  

The moment he arrived on campus, after adjusting to the absence of snow, Emmett began setting big plans in motion to rejuvenate the center. In addition to teaching in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, Emmett and his team are developing exciting research tools, publications and a lecture series, beginning this fall.

For the next year or so, the center will focus on the overarching theme of "perspectives on economic liberty," beginning with a lecture series of the same name. Emmett says that using the expression “economic liberty” is a way of talking about freedom in markets, freedom of individual choice and action, and the rule of law.

“The purpose of the series is to consider the cases for and against economic liberty, how it fits or doesn't fit with political liberty, and to ask, is one prior to the other, or are they companions?

“In these lectures, we will explore social and cultural issues around economic liberty as well as policy questions related to issues like trade and loss of jobs, minimum wage, right to work, labor regulation, and occupational licensing," he said. "These are all considerations of the benefits and potential costs in a world that accepts economic liberty.”

Emmett will kick off the series with a lecture on “The Constitution of Innovation,” in which he defines "constitution" not as a set of rules and processes, but as an environment in which systems can operate interdependently.

“Americans tend to think of ‘constitutions’ as pieces of paper that defend rights and define political processes," Emmett said. "The British tradition of constitutional analysis is more ecological: Winston Churchill compared it to daily exercise, which ensures that the various systems in our bodies function well together. FA Hayek had the British constitutional tradition in mind when he titled the only book he wrote while in America, "The Constitution of Liberty." There he argued that economic liberty undergirded economic progress because it created a societal constitution that encouraged Smithian innovation. Hayek worried that we might be about to lose that constitutional perspective. For a time, from about 1980 until the last few years, I argued that he was wrong. But perhaps we have reason to worry again. Willful disregard for the Smithian tradition threatens once again to undo a healthy constitution of innovation.”

Emmett’s talk takes place at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23, in West Hall, room 135. RSVP here. The next two events in the series are talks by Tony Gill: "An Economic Defense of Tipping" and "Religious Freedom and Economic Liberty."

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU In the News

Inmates who volunteer to fight California's largest fires denied access to jobs on release

As California struggles to contain the largest fire in state history, more than 2,000 inmates have volunteered to fight the flames.

But in a bitterly ironic twist, once inmates leave prison, they often can’t work as firefighters, despite their frontline experience. In California, nearly all counties require firefighters to become licensed emergency medical technician (EMTs) — a credential that can be denied to almost anyone with a criminal record. Inmate firefighters in Lakeport, California, on Aug. 1, 2018. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California’s firefighting felons are a particularly stark illustration of a growing, national problem. According to the American Bar Association, the nation’s occupational and business licensing laws contain over 27,000 restrictions on ex-offenders, including bans on working as barbers or hosting bingo games. Those barriers impose significant costs. Research by the Center for Economic and Policy estimates that in 2014, employment barriers for the incarcerated and those with felony convictions cost the nation’s economy up to $87 billion in annual GDP, equal to “the loss of 1.7 to 1.9 million workers.”

Not only do these policies slam the door on economic opportunity, they may also increase reoffending. A recent study from Arizona State University found that states with more burdensome licensing laws saw their average recidivism rates jump by 9%. By comparison, states with fewer licensing restrictions and no moralizing provisions had recidivism rates decline by 2.5%, on average. In fact, licensing burdens were second only to the overall labor market climate when it came to influencing recidivism rates.

Article Source: USA Today

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

ASU Civic Leadership Institute draws high-achieving high school students interested in U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights

July 3, 2018

It is noon on a Friday in the middle of June and most of the Barrett Honors College Complex is quiet.

But inside the refectory, known to students as “the Harry Potter room,” a dozen or so high school students dressed in suits pace up and down while reading aloud from yellow notepads. At the front of the room, three of their classmates are seated at a long table, dressed in sober black robes, while a dozen other students talkatively file in and find their seats. The crack of the gavel calls the room to attention, and the buzz of 32 teenagers quiets to a murmur. School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership Student Arizona State University Civic Leadership Institute Civic Leadership Institute students deliberate a Supreme Court case. Photo courtesy Samantha Lloyd Download Full Image

With the poise and self-confidence of an attorney well-versed in appearing before the high court, Amanda Shuerman, a senior at Gilbert Classical Academy, addresses the audience. 

“Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the court.” 

This moot court exercise is the culminating event of the Civic Leadership Institute, a weeklong summer program for high school students organized by faculty and staff of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. 

Shuerman has been assigned the role of an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in a case known as McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union, and she is presenting an argument she has prepared for all week. 

The aim of the institute, according to the school's Founding Director Paul Carrese, is to "introduce students to great debates about liberty, equality, natural rights, the rule of law, economic liberty and economic order, and other bedrock American principles — both as important ideas and to inculcate the civic virtue of reasonable debate.” 

The institute is part of the school’s plan to join other ASU units and Arizona institutions committed to civic leadership in a mission to collaborate with K-12 leaders and teachers on reviving civic education.

“The institute allows SCETL to directly shape students as citizens and potential leaders in civil society or politics, and also allows us to develop relationships with teachers and schools,” said Carrese. 

“These relationships are fundamental for the civic education curriculum we will be building for K-12 in the coming years because we need the expertise and viewpoints of school teachers and leaders about the right content and the best approaches for reaching today’s students.”

The theme of the inaugural institute was Constitutional Rights and Liberties, and course content focused on the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. 

"We chose the Bill of Rights because it was a relatively easy way to connect students to a set of serious political and philosophical issues," said Professor Peter McNamara, who developed the curriculum alongside Professors Sean Beienburg and Zachary German, and postdoctoral fellow Jakub Voboril.

"Much of our public discourse today involves constitutional rights and liberties," said German. 

"For example, think about our debates over whether hate speech should be a protected form of free speech, to what extent business owners’ religious beliefs, reflected in their business practices, are protected by the First Amendment, or whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own and carry firearms. We wanted to give these high-school students the opportunity to think about and discuss these important questions in a deeper, more thoughtful way, informed by American political thought and the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on these issues." 

The institute was made up of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in leadership, and the materials and lectures were delivered at a college level. Given the recent surge in civic engagement from high school students all over the country, it is not surprising that these high-achieving students were up to the task. 

"The energy of the students was great. It was a long hard week. But they stuck it out," said McNamara. 

Student Success Coordinator Susan Kells, who planned the activities for the institute, agreed. "Their commitment to the academically rigorous content was impressive; several students regularly opted to read or work on their moot court cases during free time.”

Throughout the week, students dined, deliberated, and debated together in a high-impact learning environment that mirrors the college curriculum in the school. All 32 students sat in on short lectures, then broke into small groups to discuss important Supreme Court cases and the constitutional rights they addressed.

They also trained themselves for extemporaneous speaking and debate with their peers, a nerve-wracking but invaluable exercise that requires finding evidence to support arguments, mastering rhetorical devices and in some cases, overcoming stage fright. They also analyzed the work of great leaders after which they would model their own arguments.

"Another pillar for our school is to emphasize that American civic ideals are admirable but human,” said Carrese. “Always debated, always open to the charge of needing improvement or reform; so we introduce students to great leaders, great exemplars of American civic service and debate, so that they have models to follow when developing their own plans for leadership and service.”

"This week I feel like I’ve learned so much," said Shuerman. 

"You learn that in order to protect your rights, you have to really be an active citizen. You have to be able to read through the Constitution and to actually understand what it means and the implications of that for our country." 

Litzy Hernandez, a junior from Agua Fria High School, added, "I now know what my rights are and how to defend them, and I know why the Constitution protects those rights.”

In learning about Supreme Court cases, the students’ close study of the Constitution made it clear that different readings can yield drastically different results. 

“Something as simple as a comma can completely change somebody’s interpretation of a sentence,” ASU Preparatory Academy student Alejandro Shomar-Esparza commented. 

As happens with most issues related to public policy, the students wrestled with a lot of opposing opinions. They argued about gun control and the death penalty, but the conversations inside the classroom, while at times serious and highly charged, maintained a level of mutual respect that impressed the faculty. 

"We tackled some controversial issues — the Second Amendment, affirmative action, the meaning of free speech, the meaning of freedom of religion," said German. 

"These students spend a lot of time on social media, where civil discourse often goes to die. But they were respectful of each other’s opinions, and they engaged with each other at the level of ideas and reasons. Our public discourse might be a lot healthier if it looked and sounded more like the student discussions that took place during the institute.”

"What I appreciated about this was that there were so many different points of view,” said Ian Kraemer, a student at Glendale Preparatory Academy. "We all have different educational backgrounds and different societal and socio-economic backgrounds. The diversity that's added is just invaluable.”

Shuerman agreed. "A sort of camp like this tends to attract people that have very strong opinions and so the fact that we could all express our opinions and have discussions and discourse about this while still remaining civil and expressing our opinions in a way that wasn’t necessarily emotionally charged — I think it was really incredible that a group of students could come together like that.”

Most of the students agreed that the rest of the country is having trouble doing the same, resulting in a contentious, divided political landscape that stymies progress.

What do the students think is the problem? For a majority of them, the answer is simple: We just don't listen to each other.  

Video by Samantha Lloyd and Ty Fishkind

Yet, in spite of the often angry tone of contemporary politics, some of the students at the institute seemed optimistic.

"We need to acknowledge diversity of thought and opinion because that's what makes the United States so unique. If we value that more, we'll progress more," said Hamilton High School student Nivea Krishnan.

Other students, though, had their doubts. 

When asked whether he thought the country could find its way out of extreme polarization, Mountain Ridge High School student Anthony Ruen was skeptical.  

"We don't have an absolute truth, and without an absolute truth, it's pretty much impossible to decide on common ground that everyone can universally agree upon.”

Carrese believes that one benefit of good civic education is that it can remind students that compromise is, in fact, possible. 

“Teachers, parents, and civic leaders should always look for examples of civic friendship and civil, reasonable disagreement when talking with students who are discouraged by America’s angry polarization and our failures to achieve compromised polices on our major national problems,” Carrese said. “There are both historical and current-day exemplars of these civic virtues; they aren’t mythical, like unicorns or superheroes; and they are in both parties, both liberals and conservatives, both national and local, in elected office and in other public roles.”

While the week was full of challenging readings, vigorous class debates, and lots of study time, this young intellectual community got to relax and have some fun too. 

They watched a movie, hiked "A" Mountain, played pool in Sparky's Den, participated in a team challenge at the ASU Fitness Center, and ended the week with a pool party and awards ceremony.

When asked if he thought he would use anything he learned after leaving the institute, Kraemer said yes.

"I just turned 18 a little while ago so I get to vote. As of right now, I'm feeling more confident and informed about that."

For more photos from the week, visit the Civic Leadership Institute facebook album. 

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU students apply lessons from Shakespeare to their own plans for leadership excellence

Participants in the Summer Leadership Seminar learn why effective leaders — from Abraham Lincoln to Steve Jobs — study the Bard to hone their leadership skills

June 15, 2018

Just as the school year was ending for most Arizona State University students, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership began its first summer seminar — an intensive, three-credit residential experience for 27 ambitious students, including several TiIlman Scholars. The students devoted the first week of summer to honing their leadership skills, not through trust exercises or a formal training program, but through the close group study of two plays.

The Summer Leadership Seminar is designed to inform students' own approaches to leadership by examining classic works of great moral, political and economic thought. This year's theme was “Shakespeare’s Leadership Lessons,” and students in the weeklong program examined two very different constructions of leadership: the portraits of kings as portrayed by the lead characters — and the people who orbit them — in "Macbeth" and "Henry V." Movers and Shakespeares Summer Leadership Seminar Students perform Shakespeare scenes as part of a leadership exercise. Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore Download Full Image

Shakespeare and leadership?

Abraham Lincoln, an effective leader, commanding orator and devoted statesman, studied Shakespeare throughout his presidency. He was known to recite passages of "Macbeth" from memory to military leaders and lawmakers during some of the most harrowing moments of the Civil War. So it seems fitting that the summer seminar would begin with an essay examining the Bard's profound influence on Lincoln's presidency, including references throughout some of his most famous public addresses.

Lincoln might seem an unexpected fan of The Scottish Play, which tells the story of a king so distorted by blind ambition that, although he reaches his zenith of influence, he lacks noble purpose and his reign devolves into tyranny before ending in disaster.

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership Director Paul Carrese explained, “Lincoln found insights about war and peace and the ethical dilemmas of his high office; and it’s likely that he sought to test himself against the dark portrait of ambition and power that Shakespeare offers of the Scottish leader Macbeth — who at the beginning of the play is an honorable and even noble figure, but quickly turns to murder, deception, and destruction.”

"Henry V," the focus of the second half of the course, presented the Summer Leadership Seminar students with a foil to Macbeth's cautionary tale of ambition run amok. "Henry V" recounts the accomplishments of an exceptional king — one concerned with egalitarianism, human decency and diplomacy.

Known as a heroic general, innovative military strategist and humble statesman, Henry's is a portrait of a king who artfully exchanges his party-animal reputation for the universal respect of his kingdom. Thrust into war amid mounting disadvantages against the well-armed and heavily favored French army, King Henry achieves his pinnacle of power when he inspires troops to fight for glory in the legendary "St. Crispin's Day Speech." The speech, which has since been repeated everywhere from Charles Dickens' weekly magazine to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is probably most memorable as a radio speech made by Laurence Olivier to boost British morale during World War II — a moment so inspiring to the nation that Winston Churchill later requested Olivier turn the play into a film.

Leadership students immerse themselves in a week of study, reflection and debate

On the first official day of the Summer Leadership Seminar, the students boarded a bus and headed to the Mago Retreat Center, a Tao nonprofit residence in a remote area outside of Sedona. The group — with majors ranging from biochemistry to English literature — contemplated and debated how ambition, noble or otherwise, affects leadership styles, shapes public perception, and alters businesses, communities and society. The students anchored their arguments by performing and interpreting scenes from "Macbeth."

Susan Carrese, experiential education coordinator for the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, designed the highly interactive syllabus.

Having taught similar courses at the National University of LesothoColorado College and the U.S. Air Force Academy, Susan Carrese and Paul Carrese predicted that the Summer Leadership Seminar would be an ideal pedagogical fit for students because it echoes the experiential learning model central to the school’s curriculum. 

“The goal of this experiential course was to offer students a unique encounter with Shakespeare — beyond a darkened theater, an English class, or the dreaded 'required' reading,” said Susan Carrese. “This immersion made the texts and our intellectual community come alive for our 27 students.” 

Ashley Peake, a junior majoring in biochemistry, noted that studying, living and dining together for a full week enriched the learning experience. 

“It’s not like at the end of class you’re done and it’s over," she said. "It’s something that we’re there experiencing. We’re not just there to get a lecture or have a quick discussion and leave. The conversation keeps going and I feel like that’s how we should look at education in general, as something that continues beyond the classroom.”

“I’ve become more comfortable sharing and presenting in a large group," said Jack Longo, a junior double-majoring in English literature and economics. "Throughout the week, getting to know people improved the classroom experience and facilitated discussions. I found myself branching out and talking to new people over meals.”

Applying Shakespeare's leadership lessons to business and government

By the time the students returned to the Tempe campus, they were well-versed in the plots and themes of the two plays, had considered leadership from multiple perspectives and were ready to delve into the next layer of their experience: two days of study, activity and debate with Carol AdelmanCarol Adelman is a senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity, where she specializes in international development. and Ambassador Ken AdelmanKen Adelman was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during the Reagan administration., of executive coaching team Movers & Shakespeares.  

Over the last 20 years, the Adelmans have used their unique experience working in high offices of the U.S. government — in both domestic and foreign affairs — paired with intensive study of Shakespeare, to coach a client roster that includes the Wharton School of Business, the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's JFK School of Government, AT&T and Lockheed Martin.

According to Paul Carrese, the Adelmans’ program is effective because their government experience, paired with leadership expertise, contextualizes Shakespeare within real-life scenarios.  

“They shared their view that Shakespeare’s insights make sense of important leaders and situations they encountered in public service and can offer important lessons to ambitious young people today.” 

The Adelmans two-day curriculum highlighted important leadership themes by moving between film versions and text to focus on four distinct parts of "Henry V":

1. Henry's meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he seeks to legitimize his mission to reclaim France by gaining support from the church. The stakeholder consensus King Henry seeks, according to Ken Adelman, is imperative for making big decisions in contemporary business and politics. 

2. Henry's choice to punish his friend and drinking buddy, Bardolph, when he’s caught stealing a pewter chalice from a French church. By defying the King’s orders not to pillage, at the risk of punishment by hanging, Bardolph tests Henry’s resolve as disciplinarian.  

3. Henry's wooing of Katharine, in which he convinces the deposed princess to marry him and elevate herself to queen of England and France. According to the Adelmans, it’s not just Henry’s artful communication that wins Katharine over — though those skills are important for leaders to master. It is also the fact that he appeals to her own sense of ambition by offering her upward mobility, or, career advancement. 

4. The battle at Agincourt, wherein Henry leads his troops to victory — he loses hundreds of soldiers where the French army loses thousands — in spite of inadequate armor, impoverished troop numbers and unfamiliar terrain. Henry's strength as a general lies in his innovative military strategy. More important, though, is the St. Crispin's Day speech, in which he calls upon his "band of brothers" to join him in a war for glory that will make their names "household words." He ignites them, through camaraderie and a shared, noble purpose, to see the fight as an elite privelege and honor befitting only the best and bravest men in England. His rhetorical work here not only rouses his troops to battle, but convinces them they are legends in the making, a leadership strategy that unites contemporary employees and constituents just as successfully as it does medieval troops.

These points speak to human nature, which Shakespeare seems to get very right, time and time again.

Why Shakespeare now?

Even if someone has never read a Shakespeare play or sonnet, chances are they've encountered the influence of the Bard. Maybe they've seen "West Side Story" or "Strange Brew" or "Ten Things I Hate About You." Maybe they’ve uttered the phrase “kill ‘em with kindness,” or have told a knock-knock joke ("Knock knock!" "Who’s there?" is a line from "Macbeth.") 

To say that Shakespeare has had a lasting impression on contemporary Western culture would be an understatement.

But according to Paul Carrese, his insights about people are as important as his contributions to the lexicon: “Theories of leadership come and go, but if there are some constants to human nature and the institutions or associations we build, then Shakespeare's plays offer us a range of characters and scenarios, from villains to heroes, democrats to tyrants, peace to war.”

By the last day of the seminar, students were debating major leadership themes with confidence, deftly referencing poignant scenes from the plays to support their arguments about justice, motivation, honor and innovation.

Neil Ramesh, a sophomore majoring in economics, found the experience useful.

"My major is more quantitative, rather than thinking about deeper issues, so that’s been especially interesting," he said. "Reading into Shakespeare is something I wouldn’t regularly do. Even learning from the negative things that King Henry did is helpful."

The Adelmans' approach combines study of the text as written, and then as performed, noting that Shakespeare's ambiguity — whether intentional or not — complicates the narrative and allows for multiple, sometimes diametrically opposite interpretations. 

When asked whether Shakespeare intended for his plays to be molded and reimagined over time to fit present day circumstances, or if they should be approached as stable works with universal truths that stand the test of time, the class conversation shifted to other important texts left to interpretation, namely, the U.S. Constitution.

Student participant Cameron Vega proposed an originalist approach to Shakespeare, in which the work should be considered the same as it would have when it was written. He quoted Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial philosophy in Supreme Court Cases as support for his argument.

Jack Longo, considering Vega's statement, commented, "I don't often find myself on the same side as Scalia, but in this case, I'd have to agree."

Asha Ramakumar, a sophomore majoring in business and global politics, said it is this kind of thoughtful consideration of opposing viewpoints that made the exercises from the Summer Leadership Seminar on Shakespeare valuable when thinking about governance. 

"I think it's incredibly important because too often there are jaded opinions about politics at the university level," Ramakumar said. "I would like to see more diverse people with more diverse opinions come together to bridge the partisan nature of modern politics."

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


ASU In the News

Inmates who learn trades are often blocked from jobs — now something's being done

Mike Grennan, a former convict who's getting by piecing together small construction gigs in Port Huron, Michigan, says he's paid his debt to society — but, when it comes to getting an occupational license to be a home-building contractor, he just can't outrun his criminal past.

That's because Michigan, like two dozen other states, has laws on the books that prevent ex-felons like Grennan from getting the professional licenses they need to work in a variety of blue collar trades, including cutting hair, welding, doing makeup and cosmetics, construction and more. Inmates talk while participating in the barber school program at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, on Feb. 11, 2014. Lathan Goumas/The Herald-News via AP

The restrictions were originally enacted to increase public safety by ensuring that licensed tradespeople met high standards, experts said. But states that have maintained such obstacles to reentering the workforce for former convicts have actually seen public safety harmed, according to a widely cited 2016 study by Arizona State University senior research fellow Stephen Slivinski, because the laws result in significantly higher rates of criminal recidivism. The study also found that states with fewer restrictions have lower rates of recidivism.

Article Source: NBC News

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

ASU launches summer Civic Leadership Institute for high school students

The residential camp takes place from June 17–22 on the Tempe campus

May 16, 2018

This summer, Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership launches its inaugural Civic Leadership Institute, a weeklong residential camp designed to introduce rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to college-level courses that give them a deeper understanding of the rights and liberties granted by the U.S. Constitution.

With critical issues like DACADeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and school shootings specifically affecting teenagers, high school students are mobilizing in unprecedented numbers to organize rallies, social media campaigns, voter registration drives, and political rallies before they are even eligible to head to the polls themselves.

civic leadership institute for high school students Civic Leadership for high school students combines civic education and an introduction to dorm life. Photo by Gage Skidmore Download Full Image

These youth activists are undertaking leadership roles in their communities, and chances are, they will continue on the path of civic engagement well beyond high school. The Civic Leadership Institute introduces these students to resources that help them discuss and debate current affairs and the big ideas that affect them so that they can galvanize their peers and civic leaders to address crucial problems and develop constructive alternatives.

"High school students today find themselves in the middle of some of the most heated political issues of our time," said Professor Peter McNamara. “The Civic Leadership Institute aims to provide students with the civic and intellectual tools needed to understand and to participate thoughtfully in these controversies.”

Inspired by similar programs at Notre Dame, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale, the Civic Leadership Institute gives students a preview of college-level coursework in a Socratic, small-class environment while introducing them to dorm life on a university campus.

The curriculum, which is drawn from School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership courses, focuses on the theoretical foundations of the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. Students will become familiar with the complicated history of constitutional interpretation and explore current debates from multiple perspectives about the meaning of those rights and liberties.

“The Civic Leadership Institute is premised on the idea that civic participation is enhanced by civic education. In order to be an effective force for good within our constitutional system, aspiring leaders should learn and think about the constitutional rights and liberties we have, the meaning and nature of those rights and liberties, the controversies surrounding them, and their importance,” Professor Zack German said.

“It may seem strange that the debates, concerns, and ideas of 2018 could somehow be related to those of the 1780s, or, in the case of the 14th Amendment, the 1860s. But we'll spend the week exploring how that is the case — how the rights and liberties in the Constitution and the Supreme Court's interpretations of the Constitution are still meaningful to our political life today.”

Participants who complete the session will have a general understanding of topics like rights, constitutionalism and judicial review, and specifically will strengthen their understanding of free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, equal protection under the law and due process.

For the final project of the week, students will break into teams of attorneys, justices, and plaintiffs and apply their constitutional expertise in a moot Supreme Court hearing, where they will debate issues relevant to teens. 

The week isn't all work and no play, though. Planned social activities, including communal meals and movie nights, and an introduction to dorm life under the supervision of residential advisors, will give students the opportunity to meet and connect with other students and explore campus life at ASU.

Here's what participants can expect from a typical day at the Civic Leadership Institute:

7–9 a.m. — Breakfast 

9–10 a.m. — Morning study 

10–11:30 a.m. — Session 1: Interactive lecture, breakout groups, and group discussion 

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. — Lunch and break 

1:30–3 p.m. — Session 2: Interactive lecture, breakout groups, and group discussion 

3–3:30 p.m. — Afternoon break 

3:30–5 p.m — Session 3: Interactive lecture, breakout groups, and group discussion

5–5:30 p.m. — Afternoon break 

5:30–7 p.m. — Dinner 

7–8:30 p.m. — Fun! Social/team-building activities 

8:30–10 p.m. — Moot Court preparation 

Registration ends May 23, and financial assistance is stil available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Academic Success Coordinator Susan Kells.

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


Student discovers redemption and freedom at ASU

May 15, 2018

“ASU has the spirit of America in it,” says Khashayar “Shay” Khatiri, a recent graduate of the School of Politics and Global Studies and the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies in Arizona State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Born and raised in Gorgan, Iran, Khatiri realized he resonated with American ideals after hearing President George W. Bush speak in the aftermath of 9/11. This revelation set him on a path to fight for freedom and create a better society. Shay Khatiri from the School of Politics and Global Studies and the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. Download Full Image

“A lightbulb went on over my head,” Khatiri said. “Being an American means that you adhere to the values of liberal democracy and freedom. I realized that I was, in fact, an American in my heart.”

Khatiri says that his college years in Iran were filled with depression and recklessness. In response to allegations of a rigged presidential election in 2009, he was one of the millions of Iranians who protested for freedom.

“I did not appreciate covering my face, including during my participation in demonstrations on campus, where I was in the front line,” Khatiri said. “Because of my depression — which was a result of the contradiction of the values I adhered to and the society I lived in — I was not the best student, either. Because I was a campus troublemaker more concerned with inspiring demonstrations than studying, the university expelled me.”

This setback, however, did not deter Khatiri from pursuing success. After leaving Iran to study dentistry in Budapest, Hungary, he was told he would never be a dentist because he loved politics too much. Taking the advice to study politics into serious consideration, Khatiri soon began the process of gaining admission to an American college.

“I loved the United States,” Khatiri said. “And I had to live there.”

Despite his trouble with schooling in the past, Khatiri was accepted to Arizona State University and says it has given him more than he could ever return in a lifetime.

“There are kids like me who have failed way too many times to be trusted with another opportunity again, but ASU still would trust that nobody’s beyond redemption,” Khatiri said. “That’s the American way. Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, George W. Bush, Mark Zuckerberg, George C. Marshall, James Mattis, [etc.] are all examples of people who failed in life when they were young, but who overcame those failures to reach the highest.”

Khatiri studied political science and history and was heavily involved with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, where he says he learned what it means to be a citizen.

“I was fascinated with politics,” Khatiri said. “I realized that to succeed, one must study what [one] loves, and I loved politics. Later, I met former National Security Adviser Steve Hadley and he told me that his greatest regret was not knowing more history than he did, so I took his advice and added history as a second major.”

Khatiri’s interest in politics and the fight for liberty continued during his years at ASU. He was a member and treasurer of ASU College Republicans, where he assisted in Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, a man Khatiri says he greatly admires. Khatiri also founded the ASU chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society and the AEI Executive Council at ASU, both of which have won multiple awards and competitions nationwide.

"In addition, I completed fellowships on foreign, domestic and economic policies, and intellectual thought at Hertog Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution,” Khatiri said. “I also engaged with the National Union for Democracy in Iran, an opposition group to the regime in Iran, and my activities led to being blacklisted. Currently, I’m seeking political asylum.”

Khatiri says he learned a lot about mankind during his involvement at ASU and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which has helped him in thinking about his life and the choices he makes.

“The liberal arts’ purpose is to teach us how to think about humanity, to learn about human nature, to become critical thinkers and good writers, and to learn how to be good citizens,” Khatiri said. “The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, especially the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, has done just that.”

His commitment to academic and political involvement is something he plans to continue after graduation, as he hopes to make a difference in the country he has come to know and love.

“I want to complete my graduate studies and eventually earn a PhD in strategic studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, earn American citizenship and do my part as a policy expert, whether from inside the government or in a think tank,” Khatiri said.

“America is the greatest country on Earth and a miracle. If I want a better world, if I want to give hope to that teenager in tyranny in a Third World country like I used to be, or that kid growing up in poverty in America ... I need to do my part to make America stronger and better. A better and stronger America means a better world.”

Reflecting on his experiences in the United States and ASU, Khatiri says he knew he found his home the first time he walked on campus.

“ASU has been challenging in a productive way; resourceful and kind,” Khatiri said. “The first time I felt that I had a home outside my family was when I walked on ASU’s campus, and that feeling always kept growing.”

Olivia Knecht

Student writer-reporter, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


ASU students travel to India for lessons in service, leadership

For 12 accomplished students from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, this year was not your typical spring break

April 6, 2018

For a lot of students, spring break is a time to recharge and enjoy the benefits of a few carefree days before the storm surge of year-end deadlines hits.

For 12 accomplished students from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, this was not your typical spring break. SCETL students exchange experiences with college students in India at Fulbright House, New Delhi Arizona State University School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership went to India over spring break for the Global Intensive Experience. Download Full Image

When these students signed up for an immersive service and leadership experience in India, they exchanged beaches, parties, visits home and camping trips for arduous travel to bewildering urban centers and dusty villages, where they would work hard and learn from entrepreneurs, teachers, journalists and nonprofit workers about what it takes to be a leader in the world's largest liberal democracy. 

The Global Intensive Experience, sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and led by cultural anthropologist Susan Carrese and political scientist Paul Carrese, exposed ASU students to some of the diverse facets of modern India — from densely populated, technologically advanced cities to the most rural, amenity-poor villages.

Each day, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the students took on new intellectual challenges, and in some cases, confronted personal stereotypes and false assumptions while serving communities with completely unfamiliar cultures and value systems.

When the school proposed this leadership-service trip to ASU’s Study Abroad Office they listed several major themes that students would explore in their Global Intensive Experience in India:

• Cross-civilizational issues of leadership and liberal-democratic politics in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim culture

• The power of globalization

• America’s growing partnership with India as a world power in a prominent but difficult region

• Journalism and a free press in India

• Market economics in a formerly social-democratic or “third way” economy

• India’s vast socio-economic diversity

• The challenge of service and service-learning in a completely different cultural context

To address these complex issues in a short period of time, Susan Carrese curated a syllabus of lectures, interviews, service activities and cultural experiences that offered students the opportunity to engage, not as cultural tourists, but as researchers, collaborators and volunteers.

A cultural tour

The students began their service trip with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, a great mausoleum of the Mughal dynasty that would later influence the Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb is a UNESCO world heritage site and an important touchstone to understanding the complex interactions of Hindu and Muslim culture in contemporary India.  

During a guided walk through the former center of the Muslim imperial city of Shahjahanabad — now part of the national capital city of New Delhi — they visited India’s largest mosque and participated in a pujaworship ceremony at a Hindu temple.

Students say they were struck by the religious diversity they witnessed.

“While the group was walking down the streets of Old Delhi, we witnessed Jain, Hindu, Sikh and Islamic places of worships all on the same street,” said Ivan Bascon, a junior majoring in molecular biosciences and biotechnology. “Although the relationships between the religious communities are not perfect, I saw a far better form of respect and understanding between religions than in the United States.”

Kira Olsen-Medina, a junior studying sociology, said, “It’s one thing reading about religious conflict and seeing it on the news in distant places, but seeing firsthand the dominant role of religion in another culture was significantly impactful.”

Later, at a visit to the Fulbright House — which administers the Fulbright-Nehru fellowships for educational exchanges between India and the United States — they learned about international scholarship opportunities and talked with Prasad V. Kunduri, a senior editor of The Tribune newspaper, northern India’s largest circulating daily newspaper.

“Speaking with Prasad Kunduri about the state of the news media in India was fascinating,” said Rebecca Spiess, a student of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “While the numbers of English newspaper consumption have plateaued, other dailies aren’t losing readers across India. I think it will be incredibly interesting to see whether, as the prevalence of smartphones rises, newspapers in India will take a different approach than we’ve taken in the U.S. to make sure revenues stay steady.”

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership cohort also met with Indian university students for an exercise in which the students identified together the issues that mattered to them on local, national and international levels. They then worked toward collaborative, cross-cultural solutions, and exchanged ideas about education reform, democratic participation and the "brain drain" that leads educated students in India to leave smaller villages in pursuit of careers in larger, more prosperous cities. 

Other activities included a Q&A session about transportation, globalization and business leadership with the CEO of a major Indian freight company, an impromptu cooking lesson, and a walking tour through the markets and old city of Jaipur, not far from the Pakistan border.

Making a difference

As the students complete their post-Global Intensive Experience written assignments, an overwhelming majority say that among the many activities on their journey, the service project and the residential experience at Barefoot College, in the state of Rajasthan, was the most memorable.

Barefoot College is a volunteer organization founded in 1986, committed to giving poor, rural communities the tools they need to independently thrive. Inspired by the principles of India’s independence and civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, the Barefoot ethos elevates the values of service and citizenship over financial wealth. The college rejects certifications and university degrees, claiming that students who attend Barefoot are certified by the communities they serve.

The mission of Barefoot College is to promote self-sustaining communities. They do so by training older students (often grandmothers) to produce solar energy and clean drinking water technology to take back to their communities.

The Global Intensive Experience cohort met with the Solar Mamasthe school's village-matriarchs-turned-solar-engineers, and learned how — since the program's inception — they have brought solar lighting, cookers, heaters and water desalination systems to over 18,000 households in 83 countries. 

“I was absolutely blown away when I saw the education and work that the Solar Mamas were undertaking in the workshop with electrical wiring and solar panels,” Bascon said. “Inviting these older women from all over the world really speaks volumes about the idea of being a global citizen and serving communities all over the world by educating and creating future leaders and community change makers.”

A unique education

While the training at Barefoot gives students technical skills, the backbone of the multi-faceted approach is civic education. 

Through a network of “night schools,” about 75,000 children, most of whom work during the day taking care of farm animals or their siblings, are able to learn everything from mathematics and reading to how to care for their sheep or what to do if they get arrested.

Among the top priorities of the night schools is teaching the children about democracy and citizenship, even going so far as to elect a 12-year-old “prime minister” and “government cabinet” that monitors and supervises 150 schools.

Sophomore political science major Alexis Kwan noted that India has an astounding 66 percent voter turnout, and it is likely this kind of early civic engagement by Indian youth that leads to a lifetime of democratic participation.

ASU students were lucky to attend a session of the night school — after a long and bumpy ride on dirt roads. During that session, freshman philosophy major Max Fees also delighted the Indian students by leading them in interactive songs.

Because a majority of Barefoot students are illiterate and often don't speak the same language as their peers or teachers, lessons are routinely taught through sign language, art and puppetry. 

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership students led activities ranging from painting a mural to illustrate the medicinal benefits of plants to coordinating educational games that teach children about gender stereotypes and how to identify and expose sexual abuse. 

In spite of language barriers, the ASU students felt like they made connections with the night-school students.

“By the end of the day, the kids were teaching us phrases in their language, calling us ‘sister’ or ‘friend,’ and walking back with us to the new campus,” Kwan said. 

The Barefoot night school visit was arranged by Shuvajit Payne, Barefoot director of education who left London and a successful consulting career with IBM to return to India and work on developing sustainable rural communities. 

Justin Heywood, a sophomore political science major, said that he learned something about servant-leadership from Payne.

"He had a great job working in the U.K., but was willing to leave it all behind after witnessing he could make a difference in India," Heywood said. "He could have ignored the problems that he saw, but he decided to act. His decision led to him living a less lavish lifestyle relative to the U.K. However, it was my perception that he does not regret his decision and is happier as a result. He is dedicated to his job and truly seeks opportunities for his communities."

Given limited tools, compromised communication and last-minute changes to lesson plans, the Global Intensive Experience students learned to be flexible and find solutions and compromises at Barefoot.

“Barefoot College really taught me a lot about working with the resources you have, being creative and innovative” Olsen-Medina said. “Working together, we realized that sometimes a leader’s responsibility is to recognize individual strengths and direct those energies into one cohesive mission.”

Reflecting on the experience

Before leaving India and a dizzying series of activities, the students visited the Taj Mahal, arguably the most significant cultural site in all of India. But the grandeur of the mausoleum, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is not without its price, as Olivia Gonzales, a junior majoring in global health, remarked.  

“One of my main takeaways from class has been that the most successful empires understand the importance of balance and moderation," Gonzales said. “They use their power with purpose, not just for the sake of exercising it. Seeing the Taj Mahal and hearing about the life of Shah Jahan really stuck out to me as the dangers of losing sight of moderation.” 

As the students submit reflections on their experience in India, their comments testify to the value of studying abroad, and the life-changing impact that traveling with purpose can have on those who are ambitious enough to participate.

“Diving deeper into the sociopolitical and historical aspects of India gave me a much more detailed understanding of this country than I had from my other short travels," Gonzales said. "More than that, however, our trip reaffirmed my love of service abroad. From now on when I travel, I want to be sure I have a symbiotic relationship with the country I go to. I want to give back as much as I take.”

According to Olsen-Medina, she returned from the Global Intensive Experience experience with big goals. 

“I have a new found sense of global responsibility, and a desire to make meaningful impact," she said. "I see the importance of understanding those you are trying to help and immersing yourself in the issue before trying to make solutions. Often we are so quick to try to ‘fix’ things that we do not fully understand the problem.” 

To learn more about the 250-plus study abroad programs in more than 65 different countries offered at ASU, see the Study Abroad Office website.

Ty Fishkind

Communications specialist, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership


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Steven Pinker addresses human progress, free speech to ASU audiences

Harvard Professor Steven Pinker talks speech, reason, religion with ASU students
April 4, 2018

Harvard professor fields questions from students on religion, politics and technology

Steven Pinker has a message for all those standing at the ready, poised to raise the doomsday alarm at a moment’s notice: Not so fast.

In his new book, “Enlightenment Now” (which Bill Gates has declared his “favorite book of all time”), the Harvard professor of psychology uses social science data to make the argument that we are actually living in the most peaceful, progressive time in human history.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pinker fielded questions from a group of about 30 ASU students in an open discussion on the Tempe campus that included such topics as religion, politics and technology.

“Almost anything that you measure when it comes to human well-being has increased over time,” Pinker told students, citing life expectancy, general health, time for leisure, rates of literacy and access to food, among other measures. 

Pinker was in town to deliver the final public talk in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society” 2017–2018 seriesThe School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership’s “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society” series is co-sponsored by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law., which he gave later Wednesday evening at Old Main’s Carson Ballroom.

Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now

Over the course of the academic year, the series featured such speakers as fellow social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, Middlebury College Professor of international politics and economics Allison Stanger and University of Chicago law Professor Geoffrey Stone, who all spoke on the urgent need to embrace free speech and diverse thought on college campuses and in society in general.

“It’s been a terrific yearlong series,” said Paul Carrese, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership professor and founding director. “We’ve welcomed well over 3,000 people to these events since September … and we’ve had a wide range of views represented by people from multiple disciplines and life experiences. 

“We’re delighted to have [Pinker] as the final, cleanup hitter.”

The first question lobbed at Pinker during the afternoon discussion was no softball — "What role do you feel religion plays in humanity’s future?" — and he held nothing back when he swung at it.

“I don’t think there’s a role for belief in a deity,” because there’s no evidence of one existing, he said.

steven pinker

Harvard Professor Steven Pinker wasn't afraid to tackle hard questions posed by ASU students during an open discussion on the Tempe campus Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

The belief in gods, souls and spirits does nothing to enhance humanity, Pinker argued. Instead, holding out for an afterlife only serves to devalue our lives on Earth. And though he conceded that many religions nowadays have become more humanistic and social justice-oriented, the belief in a benevolent, omnipotent being can lead to inaction on issues like climate change (if the understanding is that said being would never let humans suffer as the Earth withers away) and dangerous misinterpretations of perceived sacred texts.

“If we want to make humans better off, we have to do it ourselves,” Pinker said. “Prayers aren’t going to do it. … That’s why I think humanism combined with science and reason is the most moral set of beliefs.”

When it came to that other most-avoided topic of polite conversation — politics — Pinker’s stance was just as firm.

“We’d be better off if policy questions were not treated as matters of tribal loyalty,” he said. “There are an awful lot of scientists who take a more global approach to [political issues] — we could use more of them. … Decoupling particular ideas from political ideologies is absolutely essential” to progress. 

Pinker referenced the chapter on reason in “Enlightenment Now,” in which he addresses the scientific community’s complaint that many people reject scientific findings because of a lack of education. 

“The actual studies on why that happens show that [the stances people take on certain issues are] simply identity badges for belonging to a particular ideological tribe,” he said. “On average, people who advocate for climate change don’t know any more science than those who deny it.”

Social psychology graduate student Adi Wiezel enjoyed listening to Pinker’s insights.

“It was interesting to hear how different threats, or perceived threats, can affect political attitudes,” she said.

Pinker left students with the notion that just because some things may appear to be in dire straits, it does not mean all hope is lost.

“It’s a misunderstanding of progress to think that everything always has to get better. That would be magic.” Instead, he said, “If we apply knowledge, science and reason to the goal of making people better off, we can succeed. And we have succeeded.”  

Top photo: Steven Pinker answers questions about his books and his thoughts on free speech and human progress during a Q&A session with students, faculty and staff on the Tempe campus Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Emma Greguska

Editor , ASU News

(480) 965-9657

ASU In the News

How Clinton-era welfare reform keeps Dreamers out of the work force

Although the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has earned wide bipartisan support, surprisingly few states actually protect Dreamers' right to earn an honest living in any occupation that requires a state license — including as barbers, engineers, nurses, plumbers or in dozens of other occupations.

The evidence suggests that stricter licensing requirements stymie entrepreneurship among immigrant communities. According to a 2015 report by Stephen Slivinski, a senior research fellow at Arizona State University, “occupational licensing statutes place a disproportionate burden on immigrants trying to start their own businesses,” since immigrants are more likely to work in the service industry, which is more heavily licensed than other sectors of the economy. Lorena Jofre works at her desk at Wilson, Washburn and Forster Insurance Company on Feb. 9, 2018, in Miami. Jofre is one of approximately 800,000 immigrants that fall under the category of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More generally, after Slivinski matched an earlier data set from IJ’s “License to Work” with data on immigrant entrepreneurial activity from the Kauffman Foundation, he found that “states with heavier-than-average licensing burdens have an average immigrant entrepreneurship rate that is nearly 11% lower than average.”

Reducing the burden of licensure or repealing the requirements for many licenses is crucial to expand economic opportunity. With fewer licenses, both citizens and DACA recipients would face fewer obstacles that would otherwise block their chosen careers and stand in the way of achieving their own American Dream.

Article Source: NBC News

Project Coordinator, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty