THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY: AN EVALUATION A 2012 WORLD POLICY COUNCIL REPORT
WORLD POLICY COUNCIL ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY 2012 World Policy Council
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities. - The Mission of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
The mission of the Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council (WPC) is to address issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our nation and the world. The council has been charged with applying sustained and profound intellectual energy to understanding an alternative means of bringing about the resolution of problems at the community, national and international levels; expanding fraternal and public knowledge of such problems and engaging public discussion about them. The council, in fulfilling its mission, is non-partisan, gives consideration to domestic and international issues, seeks the counsel of experts in relevant fields, provides perspectives on specific problems and, where practicable, recommends possible solutions that may have a favorable impact on African Americans, the community, the nation and the world.
PRESIDENT’S GREETINGS It’s with great pleasure that we present the latest edition of the World Policy Council (WPC) Report. Established during the administration of the 29th general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Brother Milton Carver Davis, the WPC continues to provide sound intellectual discourse on the issues affecting people of color around the world. The level of insight, thought and research that has gone into preparing these papers is second to none. The recommendations within this document are brought forward for use in the ongoing—and future—development of public policies by members of the United States Congress, White House staff, diplomats and other stakeholders who share in the fraternity’s commitment to creating global dialogue on the great policy issues of our time. Alpha Phi Alpha is committed to expanding the fraternity’s global reach. Realizing that citizens of the United States of America must extend beyond boundaries in our thoughts, perspectives and outreach, Alpha Phi Alpha aims to lead by example. We have gathered with our brothers overseas to understand and provide awareness and support to similar issues we face in the United States. The fraternity offers its highest thanks and commendations to members of the WPC and its chairman, Brother Ambassador Horace Dawson, for all of their hard work and for their commitment to ensure that Alpha Phi Alpha continues to play a role on the world stage. The founders of Alpha would expect nothing less.
General President 2012 World Policy Council
September 10, 2012
CONTENTS (4) MEMBERS OF THE WORLD POLICY COUNCIL (6) THE CHAIRMAN’S INTRODUCTION (8) THE ALPHA PHI ALPHA CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, INC. (11) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY THE WORLD POLICY COUNCIL 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REPORT BY SECTIONS (15) I. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S PERFORMANCE: THE UNFINISHED AGENDA (17) II. LEADERSHIP IN A POLARIZED AMERICA (29) III. LEADERSHIP IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD (36) IV. OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE (39) V. RESOURCES
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WORLD POLICY COUNCIL MEMBERS
EDWARD W. BROOKE III. Chairman Emeritus, Beta ’37. United States Senator, 1967-1979; Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1963-1967. Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2004, Congressional Gold Medal, 2009.
HUEL D. PERKINS. Member Emeritus, Beta Sigma ’41. Professor Emeritus, Humanities, Louisiana State University; former Deputy Director, National Endowment for the Humanities.
HORACE G. DAWSON, JR. Chairman, Nu ’46. Distinguished Scholar in Residence, E. Franklin Frazier Center for Social Work Research; founding Director, Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, Howard University; former U. S. Ambassador to Botswana. Lincoln University Hall of Fame; Distinguished Alumni Award, Univ. of Iowa, 2009; Alpha Award of Merit, 2005. HENRY PONDER. Vice Chairman, Beta Kappa ’48. Former President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; former President, Benedict College, Fisk University, Talladega College; Interim President, Langston University; Past General President, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
VINTON R. ANDERSON. Xi ’50. 92nd Bishop (retired) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; former President, World Council of Churches.
BOBBY W. AUSTIN. Tau Lambda ’68. Managing Director of the American Education Think Tank (AETT); Senior Associate, CRP, Inc.; former Program Director, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science; former Director of Educational Policy, Board of Trustees, University of the District of Columbia.
M. CHRISTOPHER BROWN II. Mu Lambda 2004. President, Alcorn State University (Lorman, Mississippi); former Executive Vice President and Provost, Fisk University; former Dean, College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; former Vice President for Programs and Administration, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
RONALD DELLUMS. Delta Omicron ’57. Former Mayor, Oakland, CA; President and Chief Executive Officer, HealthCare International; Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-California).
KENTON W. KEITH. Upsilon ’58. Senior Inspector, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of State; former Foreign Service Officer, United States Information Agency in the Middle East, France and Brazil; former Senior Vice President, Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.; former U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar.
CHARLES B. RANGEL. Alpha Gamma Lambda ’64. Member, United States House of Representatives (D-NY); former Chairman, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee; Dean, New York State Congressional Delegation; founding Member, Congressional Black Caucus.
IVORY TOLDSON. Nu Psi ’92. Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology Program, and Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Negro Education, Howard University; Senior Research Analyst, The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
CORNEL WEST. Zeta Beta Lambda ’96. University Professor, Prince-ton University; former Professor, Harvard University; Instructor, Union Theological Seminary, Yale University and the University of Paris.
RAPPORTEUR Hartford T. Jennings, Sr. United States Foreign Service Officer (retired). 2012 World Policy Council
THE CHAIRMAN’S INTRODUCTION Attorney Milton Carver Davis, former general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, established the World Policy Council in 1995 during his term. Senator Edward W. Brooke, one of the fraternity’s most distinguished members, proposed the idea of a “think tank” within Alpha, among other recommendations, at the General Convention in New Orleans earlier that year. Brother Brooke’s generous financial contribution enabled the group to come into existence, and inspired its continued existence, as an independent entity, drawing on the vast intellectual resources of the group in addressing “issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our nation and the world.” The WPC is greatly indebted to The Alpha Phi Alpha Charitable Foundation, Inc., for a generous grant that made this report possible. Senator Brooke was the council’s first chairman, serving 1996–1997, when he was succeeded by the undersigned. Essentially, the council is a small discussion group of selected individuals who, from time to time, call upon scholars and experts in various fields of interest and now and again publish the results of their own reflections. Completely non-partisan, the World Policy Council over the years has addressed myriad national and
international issues such as U.S. budget deficits, debt relief for developing countries, affordable housing in the United States, international response to the earthquake in Haiti, the national debt, political unrest in Nigeria, U.S. immigration reform, and the plight of African American males. From the beginning, the objectives have been to spread information and to encourage dialogue, particularly on matters of public importance. It is in this light that the World Policy Council has undertaken in this report to evaluate the performance of Barack Obama as president of the United States. That he is the first black president surely has not been overlooked by this predominantly African American group. In its tradition of non-partisanship, however, the council has utilized criteria that are not circumscribed by race or any other such limiting factors. The question isâ€”how well has Barack Obama done as president? The World Policy Councilâ€™s answer can be found in these pages.
Horace G. Dawson, Jr., Chairman The World Policy Council
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STATEMENT FROM THE ALPHA PHI ALPHA CHARITABLE FOUNDATION The Alpha Phi Alpha Charitable Foundation (the “foundation”) is excited to help with the World Policy Council’s continuing efforts to research and provide informative opinion on many important national and international issues. Our hope is that providing support for this project will continue to promote our and the council’s shared objective to inform and encourage dialogue that leads to programs and policies that create enriching outcomes for all. The Alpha Phi Alpha Charitable Foundation is providing grant funding to the World Policy Council’s research to identify the Obama administration’s key public policy initiatives, the efficacy of their implementation and the obstacles and opportunities encountered therein, as well as an assessment of the initiatives’ actual impact. Our expectation is that the findings in this document will also speak to the human realities of the administration’s policies in a way that will shed light on how funders and policymakers might build on the policy successes and strengthen and develop better policy where needed. The foundation does not support political candidates, nor does it fund efforts to influence election outcomes, so in keeping with the high
standards of the World Policy Council, this research and funding effort is meant to be scholarly, objective and nonpartisan. The Alpha Phi Alpha Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 foundation dedicated to uplifting humanity. The mission of the foundation is to promote scholarship and academic achievement and provide resources, services and advocacy to the global community. Recent efforts of the foundation have been focused on urban education and growing resources and partnerships to aggressively attack the lack of innovation, achievement and preparation often found in these environments. Some current programmatic efforts include technology-based efforts to maximize the human capital found in our inner-city school systems and prepare them for future academic and corporate success. The foundation is also developing a scholarship program for collegiate youth who wish to enter the academic field and work in disadvantaged urban school districts. Former Senator Edward Brooke provided the initial funding for this scholarship effort.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The World Policy Council, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, reviews President Barack Obama’s performance as chief executive in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. Our principal areas of focus are his performance on domestic issues—the economy, health care, education, racial and cultural conflicts and immigration—and his role as world leader—global economic issues, U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the search for Arab and Israeli peace, the balance of power in the Pacific and environmental challenges. We viewed the president’s performance objectively and from the perspective of an organization with diverse views and composition, but certainly not without consideration of traditional concerns of the fraternity and of the African American community. The WPC consensus is that President Obama, notwithstanding an unfinished agenda, has performed exceedingly well in the face of unprecedented challenges to presidential leadership and that he deserves a second term.
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THE WORLD POLICY COUNCIL ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REPORT
SECTION I PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S PERFORMANCE: THE UNFINISHED AGENDA In the context of the unfolding 2012 presidential election campaign, Alpha Phi Alpha’s World Policy Council (WPC) takes stock of President Barack Obama’s first term. The introductory portion of this document is an assessment of the Obama presidency. Section II will sharply focus on the president’s performance as national leader. Section III examines President Obama’s record as a world leader. Section IV is a summary of WPC hopes for the future.
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As a candidate for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama offered voters a vision of a society that would provide affordable health care to all its citizens, rebuild an ailing economy while establishing safeguards against the financial sector practices that led to a deep recession, restore respect of the international community, act decisively to preserve the environment, and withdraw honorably from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His election also promised hope for a healing of ideological tensions and a more civil dialogue across racial and ethnic lines. Without doubt, President Obamaâ€™s bid for re-election will demonstrate how well he has satisfied the expectations of his supporters and how effectively he has won over opponents or doubters. In this document, the WPC has focused on two fundamental questions voters will raise: first and foremost, how well has President Obama performed as a national leader in a time of economic turmoil, high levels of joblessness and deep societal divisions? Second, how well has he performed as leader of the Western world?
SECTION II LEADERSHIP IN A POLARIZED AMERICA RESTORING ECONOMIC HEALTH Barack Obama surged to the presidency in 2008 thanks to voter repudiation of the George W. Bush Administration. Obama offered a refreshing contrast with his charisma and promise of broad change. Since his election, however, deep divisions in American society and political life have given rise to gridlock in Washington and impeded the president’s scope of action. A polarized Congress failed to provide legislation that adequately addresses Americans’ concerns. Polling consistently shows that confidence in democratic institutions is at an all-time low as a consequence of the current impasse in Washington. The Obama Administration was in crisis mode from the beginning. The president inherited a monumental economic downturn resulting from bad practices in the country’s major banks and lending institutions. Ten years of deregulation in the marketplace set the stage for the banking and mortgage debacle that precipitated the worst economic situation since The Great Depression. A 50-year belief in home ownership was undermined through predatory lending practices that promised citizens they could purchase homes bigger than their incomes actually justified. The resulting collapse in the housing market has left empty houses, foreclosures, blight and millions with ruined credit. Home ownership is now out of reach for millions of Americans and especially for minority families who were among the last to achieve the home ownership dream. Naturally, the ripple effect of the collapse was particularly devastating to the critical home-building sector. It was also destructive to the country’s manufacturing sector, notably automobile builders and their vast network of related suppliers.
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As a fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha has had a longstanding concern about economic empowerment and has traditionally emphasized activities leading to greater upward mobility. Fixing the economy is particularly important for African Americans. In todayâ€™s difficult economic environment, with painful cuts in federal block grants to states that are already in financial straits, there is a tendency to cut support to the poorest of the poor and use the federal funds to plug budget gaps elsewhere. Middle-class African Americans have been particularly hard-hit by the recession and have suffered potentially long-term effects from financial decisions that have been forced on them. Up to one third of African Americans have stopped putting money in their retirement accounts, and one in four has been forced to withdraw funds from retirement accounts to pay for the essentials of life. African Americans lost jobs as a result of the downturn at a rate nearly twice that of the general population. Nationwide, joblessness has hovered around 9 percent for the first half of 2012, but the unemployment rate is closer to 16 percent for African Americans and even higher for black males. On balance, the WPC believes that President Obama has dealt with the recession and the pressures on American business and industry with considerable success, given the challenges he confronted upon entering office. In addition to the domestic financial crisis, he continues to wrestle with global economic problems of interest to the United States but over which the United States has limited or no control. President Obama effectively used the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) enacted in the final months of the Bush Administration, and with the cooperation of the Federal Reserve and Congress, averted wholesale failure of the U.S. financial sector and helped American manufacturing step back from the abyss. Thanks to the presidentâ€™s leadership and bold action, our gasping automobile industry was saved, despite strenuous policy opposition on ideological grounds by conservative forces. Detroit is generating profits and jobs. Indeed, job creation in the general population is improving incrementally as the housing sector slowly recovers. Spring 2012 housing starts and requests for building permits suggest that the housing sector is less toxic than at any time since the recession began. The presidentâ€™s expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has allowed thousands under threat of repossession to keep their homes.
Nonetheless, and understandably, there are many who feel that more must be done to set the economy on a sounder footing. Some believe that using unemployment insurance funds for workforce retraining, as is done in Germany, would be helpful. Under the president’s leadership, the Department of Labor has established a pilot program for ten states to test this option. The World Policy Council believes this type of innovative, business-friendly initiative is exactly what is needed to address the stubborn unemployment situation. The economy has not fully recovered, but in every sector the trends are positive. The April 2012 International Monetary Fund’s State of the World Economy presents a cautiously optimistic appraisal of world economic prospects led by slow but steady growth in the U.S. economy. AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE Providing health care to all Americans was a major commitment during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. In fact, every president since Harry Truman, democrat or republican, has struggled with the moral imperative of taking care of the sick and elderly who could not afford health insurance. The enactment of Medicare and Medicaid during the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson occurred when the balance of public opinion favored universal health insurance with a strong government role, despite the implacable opposition of the American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical industry, and the ideologues who believed government involvement in health care equaled socialized medicine, which was a short step away from communism. Several factors came into play that led to the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act after the 2008 election. First was the leadership of Barack Obama, who parlayed his resounding election victory into a successful partnership with congressional allies and won approval where predecessors had failed. Second was the political balance of the 111th Congress. It may represent perhaps the last democratic control of both houses for some years. (The bill would never have seen the light of day in the 112th Congress, where the House of Representatives was led by republicans.) The third factor was a broad realization that health care costs have to be brought under control and the plausible argument that this plan could rein them in over time.
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Some aspects of the Affordable Health Care for America Act have received support across the political spectrum. Public opinion polls show that most Americans like provisions that prevent insurance providers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Also popular is the ability of families to keep their adult children on their insurance until age 26. But the key provision requiring Americans to purchase health coverage–the individual mandate–is far less popular. The Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate as a tax, but the issue will remain critical during the 2012 presidential campaign. While Congress was considering health care reform, the World Policy Council sought the views of prominent scholars and practitioners in the medical profession. Supporters regretted that the opportunity for a single-payer, tax revenue-funded option was lost, perhaps forever. Detractors worried that the costs of the new system would be unsustainable, that the individual mandate would be challenged in court and that ultimately the quality of care would suffer as insurers adjusted to new coverage requirements. The African-American community largely supports Obama Care because it offers the promise of health coverage for the uninsured poor. Some 13 percent of Americans in the general population are uninsured. For black Americans, that number is 17 percent. The WPC believes the president’s bringing health care reform into being deserves approval and support. Enactment of this legislation was the most significant legislative victory for the president in his current term in office. Moreover, pushing this legislation as a priority despite historic opposition and known political risks was a demonstration of wise vision and strong leadership. NATIONAL UNITY – COMBATING IDEOLOGICAL STRIFE In the immediate aftermath of Barack Obama’s 2008 election as the first black president, many in the United States and abroad expressed the premature judgment that the significance of race in American political and social life had diminished. Obama himself took issue with this view in his Philadelphia 2008 speech when he said, “I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy.…” In that speech, Obama offered his vision of a country that could be united in diversity. His vision encompassed his “brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and hue, scattered across 2012 World Policy Council
three continents….” It was this vision that appealed to many who found themselves somewhat surprised that they walked out of a voting booth having cast a ballot for a black man to lead the country. Ironically, this vision has run into opposition within the black community. Some African Americans, including prominent members of the WPC, have criticized the president for not focusing enough attention on the plight of the black community. These critics take President Obama to task for failing to call attention to such issues as the disproportionately large numbers of blacks in our prison population, efforts to suppress the black vote, and the disintegration of urban black schools. In the president’s liberal base in the general population, some have also expressed disappointment with him. Despite his insistence that the wealthiest tax payers must carry a more equal tax burden for the government’s operations, some argue that he missed the opportunity to definitively side with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the “99 percent” the movement purports to represent. On the other hand, conservatives accuse Obama of waging war on the rich and promoting class warfare. Gay rights issues are another matter that has polarized the nation. Gay rights groups have been pushing the administration to take more aggressive action to prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace. They also want changes that ensure equal protection under law, including the privileges and protections afforded under legal marriages. Although they welcome President Obama’s support of gay marriage, the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy,” and designation of violence against a person because of sexual orientation a hate crime, they believe more must be done. The issue of same-sex marriage is controversial in the African-American community. Deeply held views exist on both sides of the issue. Many African Americans believe same-sex marriage is simply another civil rights issue; others believe that allowing persons of the same gender to marry would violate religious and cultural values. This issue divides the black community as it does the general population. The president has expressed his support of same-sex marriage as a component of basic civil rights. It remains to be seen whether his position will be costly to his re-election effort.
The political, economic, and social environment in which President Obama has operated has offered a unique set of ongoing challenges. The 2010 election brought the House under the effective control of the Republican Party’s right wing with its determination to oppose any and all initiatives of the president. The conservative Supreme Court rolled back years of bipartisan campaign reform effort, ushering in a new era of big money influence in elections at every level of politics, most of it channeled toward opposition to Barack Obama. Given these realities, the WPC believes the president has made laudable progress in most areas of his agenda. We believe that agenda remains valid and that Barack Obama offers more hope for the future than his opponent in the 2012 presidential election. EDUCATION Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has long emphasized the importance of education. Today’s crisis in black education leads the WPC to look at the Obama record in that area carefully. “Go to high school, go to college” has been the fraternity’s mantra for generations. A previous WPC policy publication highlighted the plight of the black male in America. We believe that dedicating federal and local resources to education is critical to saving the current and future generations of black men from the revolving door of economic desperation, crime, drugs, and hopelessness. Commentators across the nation have identified lack of adequate education and poor skills as major weaknesses hampering U.S. efforts to climb out of the recession. The type of education a child receives before entering school is a critical factor in determining success or failure later in life. According to the Pew Research Center, “…what a child learns before the age of five has significant implications for the future and… public investments in quality pre-kindergarten yield proven economic returns and far-reaching social benefits.” Recognizing these concerns, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Education, created an initiative to help the states strengthen their early learning programs. Some localities are also adopting project-based learning as a way of connecting academic activities to real-world problem-solving for high school students. President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to federally funded education programs. He has proven to be an effective advocate for successful primary and sec-
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ondary initiatives that keep students in school and help close the countryâ€™s achievement gap with other nations. The president lobbied hard and successfully to avoid a massive interest rate hike on student loans that would have had a devastating effect on African-American students. He also has stated his intention to reward higher education institutions that keep their tuition costs low. How much leeway colleges have in this regard, with the budget pressures that exist, will remain to be seen in the course of a second Obama term. Indeed, the sequestration agreement that goes into effect in January 2013 will impose an 8 to 9 percent cut on federal funding for education. Obama Administration officials regularly assert that in order for the U.S. to remain competitive and influential on the global stage, U.S. education must be more effective in preparing students to go out into the wider world. American students must learn more about other countries and cultures, master foreign languages, and receive a solid grounding in the values that make American democracy function effectively. While attention must be paid to mathematics, science and technology, the arts and humanities should not be given short shrift. The U.S. needs its future leaders to be well-rounded, analytical thinkers who are fully prepared to engage both head and heart. The Obama Administration is committed to supporting states focused on achieving this goal at the kindergarten through secondary school levels. It is also doing its utmost to ensure that U.S. institutions of higher learning are better equipped to educate the 21st century global citizen. The WPC has paid special attention to the Obama Administrationâ€™s relations with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). President Obama demonstrated his commitment to HBCUs with his 2011 budget proposal calling for nearly $100 million in new money for them, a 5 percent increase over the previous year. Upcoming budget battles are likely to have significant effect on HBCUs. Encouragement and support will be needed for the administrationâ€™s overall education budget and specifically for funding for HBCUs. IMMIGRATION Traditionally, black voters and their representatives in Congress have viewed immigration issues as peripheral to their principal interests. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have generally supported the Democratic Party line that has favored liberal immigration policies. However, immigration will almost certainly be an issue of importance to African Americans in the current election. Indeed, it could cost the
president votes in the black community. It has been argued that immigrant workers do the jobs that blacks would not take. With unemployment for black males hovering near 18 percent, this is an argument that is difficult to prove. In any case, the immigration issue is no longer peripheral to any group of Americans, including African Americans. What we are seeing is the outcome of the failure of Congress and the federal government, over many years, to enact a basic, constitutionally viable immigration policy that protects the nation’s borders while corresponding to our notions of fairness and justice. The result is that some states have begun to enact their own immigration policies. African Americans are facing a dilemma. They recall with revulsion the time when southern states made their own civil rights policies and are uneasy about states making their own immigration policies. Yet, they recognize the real and growing impact on the job market of the millions of undocumented Hispanic immigrants. For the president, the political calculus is obvious. He needs the support of the everincreasing Hispanic electorate that wants to see a less restrictive immigration policy. Obama’s decision to end the deportation of undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children can be seen in this light. Still, many Latinos are frustrated with what they see as the administration’s ramping up of enforcement and the absence of a clear strategy for repairing a flawed visa process. On the other hand, the president does not wish to alienate voters for whom immigration is a serious concern, including a growing number of African Americans. In its latest report, the WPC urged the Obama Administration to develop and implement effective procedures for dealing with illegal immigration and called for a guest worker program to be designed that would allow foreign citizens wishing to come to the U.S. for employment without remaining permanently to do so. Immigration reform is an unfinished item that President Obama will need to address vigorously in a second term. RACE Some Americans believed that the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States would change the way Americans of all races interacted with each other. Obama’s election changed many things but not in the way optimists expected. 2012 World Policy Council
While antipathy toward the prospect of a black man in the White House showed itself in some sectors of the population, the majority of the electorate voted based on their concerns about the economy, health care, jobs, and war. Most voters believed it was time for change and that Obama could lead the country in making the required changes. Nonetheless, a Newsweek magazine poll showed that in the wake of the 2008 presidential election, the nation remains divided in its views on race, and these divisions have resulted in heightened resentments, communication failures, and greater sensitivity in discussions of race relations. In the Newsweek report on race, Andrew Romano and Allison Samuels wrote: “Despite the powerful symbolism of Obama’s election, blacks and whites are still living in two different worlds.” Representative James Clyburn is quoted in the article as observing, “ I had no idea that what we’d fought for in the ’50s and ’60s would still need to be fought for today.” The report continues, “…this is the dilemma Obama inherited: a white America eager to be convinced that racism is a thing of the past and a black America still painfully aware that it is not.” The battle over voter identification laws in a number of states is an example of the many issues that divide the electorate along racial and political lines. Political activists on the right have an interest in weakening the overwhelming black support for President Obama and the influence of the growing Hispanic electorate, especially in the southwest. For Latinos, the issue is linked to the broader anti-immigration movement. For African Americans, these new legislative maneuvers recall the era of Jim Crow disenfranchisement of black voters and the difficult struggle for voter rights. They agree with the Obama Administration that these acts are in fact intended to hinder access to the polls. Attorney General Eric Holder forcefully stated the administration’s position before the July 2012 NAACP convention in Houston. The Justice Department is engaged in legal challenges against this form of voter discrimination, notably in a recent case against the state of Texas. The WPC believes that the issue of citizen access to the voting booth is just as fundamental today as it was in the years of civil rights struggle half a century ago. The council opposes enactment of voter identification laws.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS The environment and energy sufficiency will be ongoing challenges for the Obama Administration, and probably for succeeding administrations as well. Voters worry generally about clean air and water, but their immediate challenges are how to afford energy to fuel their cars and heat and cool their homes. President Obama will have to sell his vision of public/private sector cooperation in the development of a clean energy sector that will boost alternative energy sources, create jobs, supply the wherewithal to keep the economy moving, and preserve the environment. As the issue of the Keystone pipeline from Canada to Texas vividly illustrates, environmental protection and energy production are intertwined and politically charged. There is a general perception that dependence on foreign oil is a bad thing for the country. President Obama correctly points out that the nation possesses abundant energy resources, particularly natural gas. Still, a realistic horizon for a significant shift away from the countryâ€™s thirst for imported oil is somewhere beyond the possible eight years of an Obama presidency. Nonetheless, with dramatic climate change already upon us, his responsibility for mobilizing public opinion for the long haul may be critical.
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SECTION III LEADERSHIP IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD The international reaction to Barack Obama’s election was something approaching euphoria. Obama’s predecessor had taken the country and its allies to war in Iraq based on unproven–and ultimately discredited–accusations that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. President Bush declared the war in Afghanistan as essentially won (“mission accomplished”) and diverted resources from Afghanistan to the conflict with Iraq. These were the leading indictments by foreign publics, but underlying them was a general lack of respect for President Bush himself. Many regarded him as uninformed and unsophisticated in his worldview. They viewed President Obama as smarter, more worldly, and more likely to lead the Western alliance with greater respect for the views of others. Obama laid out his foreign policy priorities in a Foreign Affairs essay in 2007. He wanted to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq, enhance the effort in Afghanistan, and work closely with Russia, particularly on arms control. Beyond these hard policy goals, he expressed a willingness to talk to U. S. adversaries and a desire to restore the country’s standing around the world. As an example of his sensitivity to foreign criticism of the go-it-alone tendencies of the previous administration, he promised to close the detention center in Guantanamo. Analysts Martin Indyk, Kenneth Lieberthal, and Michael O’Hanlon, in an article, “Scoring Obama’s Foreign Policy,” published in Foreign Affairs magazine in 2012 characterized the Obama Administration’s foreign policy as one that “…has been sensible and serious but not path-breaking.” They categorized President Obama as a pragmatic realist. The writers applauded the President’s willingness to share global leadership and work collaboratively with allies but warned that he must do more to convince Americans that this is the correct path that will safeguard U.S. interests in the long term.
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The WPC believes the Obama Administration has made significant progress in achieving the goals articulated in the 2007 essay. President Obama ended the U.S. combat role in Iraq. He ramped up U.S. forces in Afghanistan and then began the process of handing over security responsibility to the Afghan government. The final outcomes of these two costly wars cannot yet be seen, but Mr. Obama’s first-term accomplishments have been on track with his stated goals. President Obama has failed to close the detention center at Guantanamo, having received an object lesson in the limits of presidential power. Cooperation with Russia has been complicated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power politics, which the Obama Administration correctly criticized. In what was termed a “reset,” a frosty but correct relationship emerged during the first portion of President Obama’s term. But relations soured once again due to Russia’s opposition to Arab League and U.N. action on Syria’s brutal repression of political opposition. President Obama’s early actions clearly demonstrated the willingness to engage adversaries. This flexibility was a clear departure from his predecessor’s general stance that our opponents must first earn the right to negotiate with us. Early on, the Obama Administration approached Iran with the goal of diverting Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons program in return for dropping sanctions. Iran rebuffed the initiative, but it had established a new diplomatic environment. The president’s 2009 “New Beginning” speech in Cairo aimed mainly at Muslim youth stirred hopes for positive change and aroused new expectations. Those hopes, however, have since been overtaken by skepticism. Winning the confidence of this exploding, pessimistic demographic group remains a critical challenge for the future. An important measure of any president is how well he responds to unforeseen challenges. The Arab spring presented the Obama Administration with the reality of both traditional allies and adversaries being challenged by revolutionary pressures. The administration supported the ouster of longtime allies Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. It also facilitated the departure of Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh. In Bahrain, the administration has gently prodded a close Sunni ally with a poor record of granting political freedom to the country’s Shia population toward reforms. The U.S. government provided logistical support to the rebels who eventually ousted Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and has provided logistical and diplomatic support to the opposition in Syria.
The WPC concludes that the Obama Administration responded to these unforeseen challenges in a measured and prudent way. The administration has materially supported the forces of democracy without enmeshing our war-weary country in another shooting war. The daily accounting of Syrian-government-backed violence against its own people, however, is increasing pressure on the administration to take a more active role in bringing an end to the abuses. THE MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA The Arab-Israeli crisis continues to be the crux of the U.S. policy challenge in the Middle East. The Obama Administration shares the Israeli assessment of the danger to the region of a nuclear-armed Iran. It is leading the international pressures on Iran to desist in its drive to build or acquire nuclear weapons. At the same time, Obama Administration officials have concerns about the negative effect on U.S. policy goals throughout the region that an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would entail. Meanwhile, Israeli West Bank settlement policies, long criticized by successive U.S. presidents, have not yielded to Obama Administration pressures. The U.S. goal of a two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis, with secure borders along 1967 lines, has not been advanced during President Obamaâ€™s first term. It remains a critical agenda item for an Obama second term. AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA The WPC continues to follow closely Obama Administration policies in Africa and the Caribbean. The council was pleased that President Obama visited Africa early in his term and promised support in the critical areas of health and development assistance. In a previous report, the WPC gave the Bush Administration credit for its initiatives and heavy investment in efforts to counter HIV/AIDS in Africa. As the council urged, President Obama has continued this effort. The WPC also applauded the Bush Administration for the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Again, the Obama Administration has also continued to support the MCC.
2012 World Policy Council
Another issue of concern to the WPC was the establishment of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the effort to locate its headquarters on African soil. The council remains concerned that the establishment of a major U.S. military headquarters in Africa carries the risk of destabilizing fragile civil society development there. We also believe there is the risk of an undesirable overlap of responsibilities between the U.S. Department of State and AFRICOM. In any turf dispute, the State Department, with far fewer resources, would be at a disadvantage. The council recognizes that the U.S. government may need to employ the resources a separate military command can provide to respond adequately to security challenges in Africa (e.g., piracy; terrorism; uncertain futures for Libya, Egypt, and Mali). Nevertheless, the WPC remains concerned about possible negative effects of AFRICOM on African stability and civilian leadership of U.S.–Africa policy. For the present, we are relieved that the effort to find an African headquarters for AFRICOM has been shelved. For some time, the U.S. has been assisting countries in the Central African region in the search for Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony’s crimes and brutal human rights violations were highlighted in a YouTube video that went viral in 2012, resulting in renewed calls for his capture. Helping governments build communication networks to better protect their citizens, providing training and other support for those conducting the search and delivering humanitarian assistant to the most vulnerable in the region while providing rehabilitation to those who desert the LRA are but a few of the initiatives the Obama Administration is currently implementing in Central Africa. These activities are in keeping with its overall priorities on the African continent. In the Caribbean, the picture is complex. The Obama Administration’s robust response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake deserves great credit, as does its granting of temporary protected status to undocumented Haitians in the United States. The administration has been criticized for resuming deportations for those illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in this country. On balance, the WPC believes the president has threaded his way through the politics of illegal immigration in a way that has benefited the majority of undocumented Haitians requiring and deserving ongoing protection.
President Obama has signaled a new approach to Cuban policy with the relaxation of restrictions on travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba and remittances to Cuba by Cuban Americans. The opening to Cuba is a slow process that depends on some reciprocity from Havana in terms of greater economic and political freedoms for Cuban citizens. Many Cubans and Cuban Americans anticipate further progress in a second Obama term. Many applaud the Obama Administration for successful passage of trade pacts with Panama and Colombia, calling them symbols of a maturing relationship with states in the Latin American region. However, there is increasing concern over the violent actions of drug cartels in Mexico and the Central American region. The WPC urges the Obama Administration to apply the same vision, realism and collaborative approach it has employed elsewhere when dealing with this serious threat to stability in the Americas. ASIA India and China top the list of countries sending their students to the U.S. for postsecondary studies and training. In the case of India, shared democratic values have served as a foundation for building a closer relationship in recent years. As the flows of Indian students into the U.S. and U.S. business executives to India have increased, the economic relationship between the two countries has strengthened, benefiting them both. India, with its rapidly growing middle class, represents an important investment market for U.S. business. Leveling the playing field to allow an expansion of trade in U.S. goods and services remains an Obama Administration priority. In the Central Intelligence Agencyâ€™s World Factbook rankings, the European Union, the United States and China are listed as the top three global economic powers. Military capability is the other factor used to assess a nationâ€™s degree of influence in world affairs. GlobalFirepower.com ranks the top three world military powers as the United States, Russia and China. The Obama Administration has focused on engagement and building a more mature relationship with China while also addressing the concerns of our traditional allies in East Asia. Some worry that American interests are at risk because while the U.S. government is cutting its defense budget, the Chinese government is increasing military expenditures. It is clear that the Obama Administration remains in close touch with its regional allies on the issue of Chinese military expansion. 2012 World Policy Council
The Obama Administration has increased its attention to Asia-Pacific affairs and has repositioned resources in response to concerns expressed by its allies in the region. It has also carefully managed an evolving relationship with Myanmar/Burma in recent months. As greater political freedoms have been granted, the U.S. demonstrated commitment to improving the bilateral relationship by naming an ambassador to Myanmar. EUROPE Finally, the crisis in the Euro zone poses an ongoing threat to world economic stability. Wrangling within the European community over how to deal with sovereign debt, fragile banks and the degree of austerity citizens should have to endure has been ongoing in the summer of 2012. Elections in France, Greece and Portugal have signaled a backlash by populations struggling to make ends meet with rising prices, frozen salaries and a smaller social safety net. Britain, not a part of the Euro zone, is showing increasing signs of restiveness as a member of the basic European community. Navigating U.S. financial policy throughout this period will remain a challenge for the president and the Federal Reserve (Fed). In the summer of 2012, it appears that the Obama Administration, in collaboration with the Fed, has been remarkably successful in positioning the United States to play a positive, but non-interventionist, role in Europeâ€™s economic struggles.
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SECTION IV OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE In evaluating the candidates for the presidency, an essential question voters should ask is ‘Which person’s actions, policies and philosophies demonstrate the greatest degree of fairness and compassion for Americans from all walks of life?’ Should the priority be on shrinking the federal budget, even if it risks eliminating parts of the social safety net? Is there a way to increase government revenues and stimulate the economy while addressing the never-before-seen deficits that were created in previous decades? Short-term fixes will not result in the systemic changes needed to put the U.S. economic house in order. The president and Congress must take the long view, adopting policies that will stimulate growth and enable every citizen to participate in moving this nation forward and benefit from our progress. No party or movement has cornered the market on practical ideas. In a democracy, we benefit and learn from each other. As noted at the outset, the WPC believes that in 2008 President Obama offered voters a vision of a society that could provide for those in need, safeguard the environment and restore economic stability. Globally, he promised to improve the U.S. image abroad, devise a strategy to end the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and engage both friends and enemies in a manner that would maintain our national security. President Obama is often his own toughest critic. In an interview published on April 25, 2012, in Rolling Stone, the president gave an honest assessment of the road ahead. He said, “Now the burden on me is going to be to describe for the American people how the progress we’ve made over the past three years, if sustained, will actually lead to the kind of economic security that they’re looking for. There’s understandable skepticism, because things are still tough out there. You still have an unemployment rate that is way too high, you have folks whose homes are underwater because the housing bubble burst, people are still feeling the pinch from high gas prices. The fact of the matter is
that times are still tough for too many people, and the recovery is still not as robust as we’d like, and that’s what will make it a close election. It’s not because the other side has a particularly persuasive theory in terms of how they’re going to move this country forward.” In the coming months, we will see how the opposition to an Obama second term will be fully articulated. In the summer of 2012, the principal thrust of republican public statements and campaign ads has been to oppose Barack Obama, his Affordable Health Care for America Act, the pace of economic recovery and the growth of the national debt. The Paul D. Ryan budget plan foreshadows a debate on overall budget reform and how the nation will pay for its social programs in the future. Barack Obama’s challenge going forward is to find ways to make creative, bipartisan problem-solving possible in a polarized political environment. Based on what he has accomplished thus far, the World Policy Council believes that the country has benefited from President Obama’s leadership and that he deserves a second term. The WPC concludes that Mr. Obama has performed effectively as a national leader in a time of economic turmoil, high levels of joblessness and deep societal divisions. We also believe that he has performed well as leader of the Western world. Our hope for the future is that under his leadership, both republicans and democrats will be able to set aside their personal differences; confront the nation’s problems with a greater seriousness of purpose and focus on serving the best interests of the American people.
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SECTION V RESOURCES WORLD POLICY COUNCIL 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REPORT I. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S PERFORMANCE: UNFINISHED AGENDA II. LEADERSHIP IN A POLARIZED AMERICA Restoring Economic Health Friedman, Thomas L. “Obama Should Seize the High Ground,” The New York Times, May 26, 2012, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/opinion/sunday/friedman-president-obamashould-seize-the-high-ground.html PBS NewsHour. “What’s Germany’s Economic Secret to Success,” February 8, 2012, available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/video/blog/2012/02/whats_germanys_economic_secret.html Pew Research Center. “Economic Mobility of the States: Interactive,” May 10, 2012, available at http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/economicmobility-of-the-states-interactive-85899381539 U.S. Department of Labor. “Turning Unemployment into a Reemployment Program,” The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Labor, April 19, 2012, available at http://social.dol.gov/blog/turning-the-unemployment-program-into-a-reemployment-program/
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Affordable Health Care Bollyky, Thomas J.,“Developing Symptoms: Noncommunicable Diseases Go Global,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, available at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137536/thomas-j-bollyky/developing-symptoms Levey, Noam N.,“Less Affluent Nations Push to Provide Health Care for All,” The Washington Post, May 14, 2012, available at http://www.highbeam.com/ doc/1P2-31357918.html Pew Research Center. “Public Remains Split on Health Care Bill, Opposed to Mandate: Polling on Health Care Reform,” March 26, 2012, available at http://www. people-press.org/2012/03/26/public-remains-split-on-health-care-bill-opposed-tomandate/ National Unity Associated Press. “Obama’s Gay Rights Move Has No Impact on Policies: Obama’s Policies on Gay Rights Issues and the Impact of His Shift on Gay Marriage,” May 10, 2012, available at http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=385213 Lightman, David, & McClatchy Washington Bureau, “Congress Isn’t Just Stalemated, It’s Broken, Experts Say,” May 22, 2012, available at http://www.mcclatchydc. com/2012/05/22/149696/congress-isnt-just-stalemated.html Moss III, Otis. “Moss to African-American Clergy: Don’t Abandon Obama Over Same-Sex Marriage,” The Daily Beast, May 15, 2012, available at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/15/moss-to-african-american-clergy-don-t-abandonobama-over-same-sex-marriage.html The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. “Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage,” July 2012, available at http://features.pewforum.org/same-sex-marriage-attitudes/ Education Brooks, David. The Social Animal The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement. New York: Random House, 2011.
Larmer, John & John R. Mergendollar. “8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning,” Educational Leadership 68:1 (September 2010): 52–55. Available at http://www.bie. org/tools/freebies/8_essentials_for_project-based_learning Northwestern University. “Music Training Enhances Brainstem Sensitivity to Speech Sounds, Neuroscientists Say,” Science Daily, February 22, 2010, available at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100220184327.htm The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Education,” accessed 2012 at http://www.pewtrusts. org/our_work_category.aspx?id=328793 U.S. Department of Education. “Broadening the Spirit of Respect and Cooperation for the Global Public Good,” remarks of Dr. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education, 2012 International Education Summit on the Occasion of the G8, May 3, 2012, available at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/broadening-spirit-respectand-cooperation-global-public-good U.S. Department of Education. “The Race to the Top District Competition,” remarks by Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, May 22, 2012, available at http://www. ed.gov/news/speeches/race-top-district-competition Immigration Gomez, Jose H. “The Supreme Court’s Immigration Hearing: Human Dignity Not Up For Debate,” The Washington Post, April 24, 2012, available at http://www. washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/the-supreme-courts-immigrationhearing-human-dignity-not-up-for-debate/2012/04/24/gIQAqIXWfT_blog.html Mayer, Matt A. “Numbers Show Obama’s Lack of Commitment on Immigration Enforcement,” The Heritage Foundation, Issue Brief No. 3525, March 1, 2012, available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/obamas-lack-of-commitment-on-immigration-reform-and-solving-the-illegal-immigration-problem O’Toole, Molly. “Analysis: Obama Deportations Raise Immigration Policy Questions,” Reuters, September 20, 2011, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/us-obama-immigration-idUSTRE78J05720110920
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Race Hager, Eli. “Journey for Racial Justice is Not Over,” The Washington Post, May 13, 2012, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/journey-for-racialjustice-is-not-over/2012/05/13/gIQAR8QMNU_story.html The Heritage Foundation. “Protecting the Ballot and Ensuring the Right to Vote,” Issues 2012: The Candidate’s Briefing Book, available at http://www.candidatebriefing. com/voter-integrity/ Keyes, Scott, Ian Millhiser, Tobin Van Ostern, & Abraham White. “Voter Suppression 101,” Center for American Progress, April 4, 2012, available at http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/04/voter_suppression.html Keyssar, Alexander. “The Strange Career of Voter Suppression,” The New York Times, February 12, 2012, available at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?r es=9E02E3D91F3DF930A25751C0A9649D8B63 Passel, Jeffrey, Gretchen Livingston, & D’Vera Cohn. “Explaining Why Minority Births Now Outnumber White Births.” Pew Research Center, May 17, 2012, available at http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/05/17/explaining-why-minority-birthsnow-outnumber-white-births/ Rich, Frank. “Post Racial Farce,” New York Magazine, May 20, 2012, available at http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/racism-2012-5/ Romano, Andrew & Allison Samuels. “A Newsweek Poll Shows Americans Still Divided on Race: An Exclusive Newsweek Poll Reveals the Persistence of America’s Stark Racial Divide,” The Daily Best, April 9, 2012, available at http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/08/a-newsweek-poll-show-americans-stilldivided-over-race.html Environmental Concerns Ball, Jeffrey. “Tough Love for Renewable Energy: Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, available at http://www.foreignaffairs. com/articles/137519/jeffrey-ball/tough-love-for-renewable-energy
Howard, Jordan. “Green Groups Struggle with Obama’s Mixed Environmental Record,” Huffington Post, September 2, 2011, available at http://www.huffingtonpost. com/2011/09/02/green-groups-obama-environmental-record_n_946595.html
III. LEADERSHIP IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD The Middle East & Central Asia Indyk, Martin S., Kenneth G. Lieberthal, & Michael E. O’Hanlon. “Scoring Obama’s Foreign Policy: A Progressive Pragmatist Tries to Bend History,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2012, available at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137516/martinindyk-kenneth-lieberthal-and-michael-e-ohanlon/scoring-obamas-foreign-policy Africa & Latin America Carson, Johnnie, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State. “U.S.–Africa Policy Under the Obama Administration,” remarks, April 5, 2010, Harvard University, available at http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2010/139462. htm
Jones, Steve. “United States Continues Its Efforts Against Kony,” About.com, March 15, 2012, available at http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/od/africa/a/United-StatesContinues-Its-Efforts-Against-Kony.htm Asia Central Intelligence Agency. “Country Comparisons: Distribution of Family Income-Gini Index,” World Factbook, 2011, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html CIA World Factbook. “The World’s Largest Economies 2012,” Therichest.org, May 20, 2012, available at http://www.therichest.org/world/worlds-largest-economies/
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GlobalFirepower.com. “2012 World Military Strength Ranking,” available at http:// www.globalfirepower.com/ “India’s Policy Decisions Dampen Investment Climate: U.S.,” The Hindu, May 21, 2012, available at http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article3442498. ece Korea Times & USA Today. “Editorial: Chen Signals Maturity in U.S.-Chinese Relations,” May 20, 2012, available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-05-20/Chen-Guangcheng-New-York/55097860/1 LaFranchi, Howard. “Obama Names Ambassador to Myanmar: Is U.S. Moving Too Slow or Too Fast?” The Christian Science Monitor, May 17, 2012, available at http:// www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/0517/Obama-names-ambassadorto-Myanmar-Is-US-moving-too-slow-or-too-fast Europe Ewing, Jack. “The Euro Zone Crisis: A Primer,” The New York Times, May 22, 2012, available at http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/the-euro-zone-crisisa-primer/ PwC UK. “UK [United Kingdom] Economic Outlook: Full Report–March 2012,” available at http://www.pwc.co.uk/the-economy/publications/uk-economic-outlook/full-report-march-2012.jhtml IV. OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE Romney, Mitt. “Jobs and Economic Growth,” available at http://www.mittromney. com/jobs Wenner, Jann S. “Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama,” Rolling Stone, April 25, 2012, available at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/ news/ready-for-the-fight-rolling-stone-interview-with-barack-obama-20120425 Zeller, Shawn. “A Way Out of Gridlock,” CommonWealth Magazine, Fall 2011, available at http://www.commonwealthmagazine.org/Departments/Washington-Notebook/2011/Fall/A-way-out-of-gridlock.aspx
PHOTOGRAPHY (In viewing order) President Obama. Provided by The White House. President Obama after speech. Provided by Brother Jeff Lewis. http://www.JeffLewisPhotography.com President Obamaâ€™s halo. Provided by Brother Jeff Lewis. http://www.JeffLewisPhotography.com President Obama at the APEC summit. Provided by The White House. President Obama hosts Middle East leaders at White House dinner. Provided by The White House. Health Care Act bearing President Obamaâ€™s signature. Provided by The White House. President Obama signing health care act. Provided by The White House. President Obama in Afghanistan. Provided by The White House. President Obama talking with House Republicans. Provided by The White House. President Obama with Arab and Israeli Leaders at the White House. Provided by The White House. President Obama with firefighters in Colorado Springs. Provided by The White House.
2012 World Policy Council
SINCE ITS FOUNDING ON DECEMBER 4, 1906, ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY HAS SUPPLIED VOICE AND VISION TO THE STRUGGLE OF AFRICANAMERICANS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR AROUND THE WORLD. Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in this country. The visionary founders, known as the “Jewels” of the fraternity, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy. The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The Jewel founders and early leaders of the fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity. Alpha Phi Alpha chapters were established at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions, soon after the founding at Cornell. The first alumni chapter was established in 1911. While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans. Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights through leaders such as: W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson, and many others. True to its form as the “first of firsts,” Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1945.
Henry Arthur Callis became a practicing physician, Howard University professor of medicine and prolific contributor to medical journals. Often regarded as the “philosopher of the founders,” and a moving force in the fraternity’s development, he was the only one of the “Cornell Seven” to become general president. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., he was a medical consultant to the Veterans Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. Upon his death in 1974, at age 87, the fraternity entered a time without any living Jewels. His papers were donated to Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
Charles Henry Chapman entered higher education and eventually became professor of agriculture at what is now Florida A&M University. A university funeral was held with considerable fraternity participation when he became the first Jewel to enter Omega Chapter in 1934. Described as “a Brother beloved in the bonds,” Chapman was a founder of FAMU’s Beta Nu Chapter. During the organization stages of Alpha Chapter, he was the first chairman of the Committees on Initiation and Organization.
Eugene Kinckle Jones became the first executive secretary of the National Urban League. His 20-year tenure with the Urban League thus far has exceeded those of all his successors in office. A versatile leader, he organized the first three fraternity chapters that branched out from Cornell—Beta at Howard, Gamma at Virginia Union and the original Delta at the University of Toronto in Canada. In addition to becoming Alpha Chapter’s second president and joining with Callis in creating the fraternity name, Jones was a member of the first Committees on Constitution and Organization and helped write the fraternity ritual. He died in 1954.
George Biddle Kelley became the first African-American engineer registered in the state of New York. Not only was he the strongest proponent of the fraternity idea among the organization’s founders, the civil engineering student also became Alpha Chapter’s first president. In addition, he served on committees that worked out the handshake and ritual. Kelley was popular with the brotherhood. He resided in Troy, New York and was active with Beta Pi Lambda Chapter in Albany. He died in 1963.
Nathaniel Allison Murray pursued graduate work after completing his undergraduate studies at Howard. He later returned home to Washington, D.C., where he taught in public schools. Much of his career was spent at Armstrong Vocational High School in the District of Columbia. He was a member of Alpha Chapter’s first committee on organization of the new fraternal group, as well as the Committee on the Grip. The charter member of Washington’s Mu Lambda Chapter was a frequent attendee of General Conventions. He died in 1959.
Robert Harold Ogle entered the career secretarial field and had the unique privilege of serving as a professional staff member to the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. He was an African-American pioneer in his Capitol Hill position. He proposed the fraternity’s colors and was Alpha Chapter’s first secretary. Ogle joined Kelley in working out the first ritual and later became a charter member of Washington’s Mu Lambda Chapter. He died in 1936.
Vertner Woodson Tandy became the state of New York’s first registered black architect, with offices on Broadway in New York City. The designer of the fraternity pin holds the distinction of being the first African-American to pass the military commissioning examination and was commissioned first lieutenant in the 15th Infantry of the New York State National Guard. He was Alpha Chapter’s first treasurer and took the initiative to incorporate the fraternity. Among the buildings designed by the highly talented architect is Saint Phillips Episcopal Church in New York City. He died in 1949, at age 64. 2012 World Policy Council
ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY DEVELOPS LEADERS, PROMOTES BROTHERHOOD AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE, WHILE PROVIDING SERVICE AND ADVOCACY FOR OUR COMMUNITIES. ADDRESS Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
2313 St. Paul Street Baltimore, MD 21218 PHONE
2012 World Policy Council