Aaron Benavot & David Post
CIES Candidates for Vice-President
Each year, the Comparative and International Education Society holds elections for the position of vice-president. The way the society is organized means that this person will automatically become president after serving one year as vice president. Every vice president, in other words, steps up to hold the presidency. So, vice presidential elections are a big deal.
This year, two outstanding candidates have been nominated, David Post and Aaron Benavot.
Today I interview each candidate back-to-back to give CIES members a better understanding of their proposed agendas.
Aaron Benavot is Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report published by UNESCO. Later this year he will return to the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership in the School of Education of SUNY-Albany, where he serves as Professor of Global Education Policy.
David Post is Professor of education at Pennsylvania State University.
Please remember: Voting concludes on February 17!
Details on voting (for CIES members only)
The 2017 CIES election is currently underway and will run through Friday, February 17, 2017. All active CIES members active as of January 17, 2017, should have received an email ballot via ElectionBuddy; you may submit your vote at any time during the election period. If you did not receive a ballot, please contact the CIES Office of the Executive Director at email@example.com.
Citation: Benavot, Aaron, Post, David, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 59, podcast audio, February 6, 2017.https://freshedpodcast.com/vpcandidates/
Will Brehm 2:38
Aaron Benavot, welcome to FreshEd.
Aaron Benavot 2:41
It’s my pleasure to be here.
Will Brehm 2:42
Well, first off, congratulations on being nominated for Vice Presidency of CIES.
Aaron Benavot 2:45
Well, it’s an honor for me to be asked to be in this position. And if elected, I hope I can serve, carry it out in a way that people will consider that I’ve made a contribution to the Society.
Will Brehm 3:08
So, why are you running for vice president?
Aaron Benavot 3:12
In thinking about this question, I think that I would like to draw on some of the, as it were, unique aspects of my personal professional career. In many ways, I began in a more traditional sense of being an academic, and getting a PhD, and going off and becoming a professor at universities and integrating, as it were, insights from my training and comparative and international education and the work that I did, whether it be the research or the teaching. But at some point, I decided to get much more involved in the international policy world. I had never, in my earlier research, thought very much about the policy implications of the work that I did but I was more interested in basic research questions. And in part due to a kind of serendipitous meeting with a colleague in Geneva, at some point -now, I guess, it’s been 15 years- I was asked to contribute to a big international meeting of Ministers of Education, and I had the opportunity to spend seven minutes giving them pearls of wisdom or some insights of what I thought might be important for them to consider. This was in 2001. And since then, I’ve put myself forward as a candidate to work at UNESCO, in particular, in what was known then as the EFA Global Monitoring Report team, and spent four years in Paris, and then went back to academia. And then more recently, I went back to Paris as the director of the team. So, over the last, basically, I guess, eight years, over the course of the last decade plus, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in a major international agency that has a lot to do with looking at education policy and monitoring progress in the world. And in that sense, that’s a fairly unique and unusual vantage point to see how comparative international education flows through this work. So, in terms of my motivation, I think, getting back to your main question, I hope to be able to build stronger bridges between the world of academia and the world of policymaking kind of writ large, and to find ways to ensure that our members are actively engaged in various kinds of fora both in their home countries and in various kinds of international agencies. So, I hope to be able to improve the way in which we kind of move back and forth between the scholarly world and the world of practice.
Will Brehm 5:57
Beyond bridging between the world of global educational policy and the academic community of say, CIES, did you learn anything else while working at UNESCO in particular, but also the international policy field writ large? Did you learn anything in those spaces that you think will be helpful if you were elected to be the Vice President of CIES?
Aaron Benavot 6:24
I think I’ve learned an enormous amount. And a lot of it has to do with seeing the ways in which international policy organizations need to draw on some of the best evidence which is not always available or known to them. And often they rely on existing networks or existing experts that they may have had experiences with in the past. I think there’s a lot that we could do as an organization to provide international agencies with up-to-date scholarship that is ongoing among members of CIES, so that they can contribute much more actively in the kinds of evidence-based policymaking which has become the norm now. So, I think that’s one way that I’ve learned how we can kind of support this bridge. Another way is that I’ve been able to develop very strong networks around the world having worked at UNESCO, and these networks, I think, are ones that could serve many different purposes to kind of invigorate what we do at CIES. Make linkages with people who are in various positions in other parts of the world who may not be members of CIES. So, it’s a way of reaching out and improving and diversifying, I think, what we have now as a very vibrant organization or society. And I also see the limits and the difficulties of working in international agencies. I was lucky to be in a very particular point or a place at UNESCO. And in many ways, I had quite a lot of autonomy in the work that I did but watching other colleagues in other parts of the education sector and in other parts of the international policy community, there are many constraints on the work that they do and the kind of time they have available and the budgets that they have available. So, I think I’ve learned a little bit more about what many of us, let’s say academics, see as the surface of what goes on in international agency. I’ve had the opportunity to kind of see what goes on behind the doors or under the surface in a way that I have a much greater appreciation for at least the passion and interests of those working in those areas but often also the constraints and limitations to the work that they do.
Will Brehm 9:09
Many of the members or the employees of these different international agencies are members of CIES. What sort of role do you think these international agencies should have in our society beyond just simply having some of their employees as members? Is there any other sort of organizational connection that we should be thinking about or that you would be thinking about if you were elected vice president?
Aaron Benavot 9:37
So, I think first of all, CIES as an organization, if we look historically, has gone through somewhat of an evolution in thinking about its relationship to communities of practice and the area of policy making and the connection with international agencies. I think most of the founders of the society, and for many years, mainly focused on scholarship and academic research, all of which was entirely understandable and justified. And then the movement to, and kind of, embrace and incorporate people who did work, and often did very serious work in international agencies that animated some of their main policies. They became much more involved in the Society. And I think that that has been by and large, I think, a positive development. It certainly enhance and enrich the kinds of dialogues and conversations that have gone on in meetings. It’s allowed many of our members to develop, kind of, critical perspectives about the work going on in international agencies and perhaps people that are listening. So, I think that this participation, which has been enhanced, is by and large, a good thing. But certainly, I think we need to find new ways to kind of once again, how do we link what members, especially young scholars do, in their work, and whether or not this can be leveraged or be found to be meaningful in the kind of work that would be needed by international agencies beyond what they typically have access to. And some of the scholarship, which may be more limited in terms of disciplinary focus, and some of the issues that they address. I think our members have a lot to offer international agencies. So, I would like to see a strengthening of those linkages in both ways, and I think it’s a very healthy and respectful way for us to continue to improve upon what has been, I think, a positive evolution in the society in terms of bringing people who represent international agencies into the society.
Will Brehm 12:04
And it seems like you have a foot in both worlds.
Aaron Benavot 12:07
Probably more than a foot. Probably a foot and a hand.
Will Brehm 12:13
So, what would be your top priorities, if you were vice president and president of CIES?
Aaron Benavot 12:21
So, I think, drawing on what I’ve just said, I think one of the things that we need to do better as a community is to find ways to make our work better known outside of the society. Both in terms of other researchers who work in the area of education research, who may not know about some of the comparative and international education scholarship that goes on by members of the Society. But then beyond that, in other circles, and institutes in the policy world. So, I think that we need to find ways to kind of improve the visibility of the work that does go on. I think one of the big challenges that we face in many North American universities is that due to all kinds of budgetary constraints, positions that in the past had a strong social, cultural, and comparative international dimension have often been undercut or lost their financial support and are no longer found in colleges of education. So, I think we need to find ways to enhance the reputation of the field in colleges of education to ensure that there are spots available, institutional positions available in colleges of education in which the work of comparativists are highlighted. I think we have been blessed with developing a good pool of funds that we have as a society. And one of my priorities would be to think how we can make the best use of the funds that we do have available so that we spend them widely.
Certainly, a priority for me would be to find ways to support the many young professionals and new scholars who have come into our society and who are at the beginning of their career and staking out kind of a new professional identity. So, I think we need to do a lot to kind of enhance the skills that they may need to succeed in their careers. And certainly, I think that we need to find ways beyond the annual meeting to make sure that we can meet either in regional meetings, or like the recent Fall symposium that took up the issue of global learning metrics. I think that was a wonderful way to get people to kind of come together in a smaller, more intimate setting and exchange ideas and views about an important issue in the future. So, all of these would be, I think, areas that I would like to help prioritize in the years to come.
Will Brehm 15:19
So, you said that one of the priorities would be to make the society more well known in policy circles outside of academia? What about inside public debates? Do you envision the society having a role in global or national public debates on education?
Aaron Benavot 15:42
The short answer is, yes. But selectively and where there is clear relevance and expertise from members of our society with respect to the issues that are being addressed. So, certainly, when it comes to the freedom of movement of scholars and international students who wish to study in North American universities, I think it’s very critical that we raise our voice. There are many other issues that not only pertain to us but pertain to other scholarly associations and professional associations. And so, I think we need to find ways to develop coalitions with them and to address what we consider to be problematic political decisions that are being made in Washington that affect us as a society and many other societies. So, you know, to be short, I think there’s a role to play. You know, the question is, how much do we facilitate individual members of the society, raising their voices on controversial issues, or issues that are pertinent for whatever political or policy related reasons? And how much do we as a society do the leadership and the board put their support behind the statement. As we’ve seen recently, the board has done on two different occasions. And so there needs to be debate and discussion about the relative importance of such a statement. And I think these are certainly things that we need to do in the future. And I can imagine we will need to do many more times in the future.
Will Brehm 17:37
And so, you would support the recent statement that the board put out that condemned or not necessarily condemned but said they did not agree with the ban on people from those seven countries coming into the US that the Trump administration proposed and passed through an executive order.
Aaron Benavot 17:59
Yes. I fully support the board’s statement in this matter.
Will Brehm 18:02
And in the future, would you see the board getting more engaged in these sort of issues, and making more announcements on other potential issues that may arise, particularly during the Trump presidency?
Aaron Benavot 18:16
Well, it remains to be seen. As I said, I think that these are things that are likely to be related to the work that we do and the membership that we wish to represent. I think that we need to think how we can -because many of these issues, as I mentioned, are really not just related to CIES but have impact on many professional and scholarly associations. So, I think we need to support any kind of coalition building so it isn’t just a statement by CIES but maybe a broader statement by many different associations that perhaps could arrive at a consensus about how they wish to address various developments and either political decrees or executive orders or even legislative decisions that are being made by the US Congress. So, I would imagine that this will become more salient in the months and years to come. And I think we need to think wisely how we go forward each time but to the extent that there are things that directly impact the society and our membership, I think we should debate them and see if we can have our voice be known in Washington, and among those who are making these decisions.
Will Brehm 19:44
So, when did you join CIES?
Aaron Benavot 19:48
About 30 years ago, when I was a graduate student at Stanford. I think I went to my first CIES meeting in ’85 or ’86 and by and large had been attending pretty much on a regular basis. There was a period of time when I was living abroad, it was a little bit difficult to travel to the US each year, but I’ve always thought of CIES as my intellectual and professional home. And certainly, a neighborhood that I enjoyed coming to, a community that I enjoyed participating in and contributing to, and that’s always been the case over these past three decades.
Will Brehm 20:27
So, over those past three decades, has the Society taken any wrong turns in your opinion?
Aaron Benavot 20:34
That’s an interesting question. I know that the Society has struggled with the fact that it’s become as big as it has. And certainly, you know, for many years, it was enough to get one of our host universities to allow us to have the meeting at an academic institution and have various professors and their graduate students kind of organize meetings, and so on and so forth. So, we can’t do that anymore. It’s certainly impossible. So, as we’ve grown, there have been various kinds of growing pains, both in terms of the management of the annual meetings but also the management of the society and its business. And I would say that the board, from what I’ve been able to understand, has struggled with finding the right formula, the right kinds of people who are both knowledgeable about the work that we do but who can take some of the management, kind of day-to-day, tasks from the President and the other members of the board to ensure that everything runs smoothly. So, I’m not sure if wrong turns is the right formulation but certainly, there has been attempts going in this direction, and then kind of come back in a different direction. I think it seems like we’re in a good spot now and that should be supported. In terms of other things, it’s difficult to say. I don’t recall things that I would consider to be a wrong turn. I think there are ideas that people have put forward, let’s say regional meetings of CIES that people thought would be a great way to enhance the commitment of graduate students and those who are studying comparative international education in various departments in different parts of the country. That hasn’t worked out maybe as well as people would have liked. But I’m not sure. You know, I think it’s important to try different ideas and see if they work the way we had hoped. And if they don’t then you go back and try something else. I think this is the way the Society has learned over time.
Will Brehm 23:15
And so how do you envision the future of the Society? Like in 10 years, in the dream world, if you had a magic wand, what would CIES look like?
Aaron Benavot 23:26
Well, I would hope that in 10 years, we would continue to be large and growing. That we would be a vibrant place where people come and are motivated and committed to contribute to the society. I would want us to be a place that maybe we are able to mobilize the knowledge that we create in more visible ways, especially the critical knowledge that is often found in the Society, but often maybe isn’t seen elsewhere. I would really hope that we would help to contribute to new positions in North American universities and develop links with colleagues who have been appointed in those positions. And I would really hope that in 10 years, that ours would be a voice. In other words, either CIES as an entity or CIES members would be more active in having the knowledge and work that goes on in the Society be known and be visible in a lot of the political and policy fora that discuss education policies and research. I think we have a lot to contribute. So, I would say that we need to do a better job of what we’ve been doing now and kind of reach out and broaden our visibility and our voice and perhaps also our impact in what goes on.
Will Brehm 25:15
Well, Aaron Benavot, thank you so much for joining FreshEd and best of luck with the election.
Aaron Benavot 25:20
Thanks very much, Will. I appreciate it.
Will Brehm 25:41
David Post, welcome to FreshEd.
David Post 25:45
It’s great to be here. Thanks so much for doing this with us, Will.
Will Brehm 25:48
So, I guess first off, congratulations on being nominated to be a candidate for the vice presidency of CIES.
David Post 25:57
Thanks very much. It’s nice to have people be minimally confident that I might be able to do a decent job.
Will Brehm 26:03
So, why are you running for the vice presidency?
David Post 26:06
Ah, that’s a big question, Will. I don’t want to go into this too much right now, but it has to do with what we just saw today from the CIES, which was a statement about President Trump’s immigration ban and the politics surrounding that. And basically, I want the CIES to become less centered around just an annual meeting. And I want its officers to devote energy to the role of the United States and US education. Now, this is not completely new. I’m not inventing this on the spot because in the past, the CIES did take political stance and attempted to influence US international policy and US education policy. For example, a few years ago, there was a CIES group that I was leading that created an amicus curiae brief to the Inter American Human Rights Court on behalf of Haitian Dominicans who are denied rights to education. Or more recently, Mark Ginsburg, my former co-editor led the board to adopt a strong position for the United States paying dues to UNESCO. Once upon a time, the general meeting of the CIES used to have debates about current issues, for example, about the repatriation of Elian Gonzalez. Anyway, long story short, facing the Trump government, we have a lot of work to do. And I don’t want our elected officers to spend more time than absolutely necessary on the details of meeting organization. I want them to have time for more important organizing and mobilizing to promote goals of CIES more broadly.
Will Brehm 27:44
So, how do you do that? How do you get the board to begin looking more outward rather than inward?
David Post 27:50
Right. Well, today, we saw a good example of that. The first thing is just to sensitize people that there is an issue. But the next part, of course, has to be connecting members and connecting constituent institutions to the levers of power in the United States. Now, most simply, that means contacting officials in the State Department, contacting their elected representatives. Many other organizations and civil society organizations that I belong to have not just made a statement but have said, “Here’s what you need to do. Contact this person”. Here’s a senator, for example, one of my senators, Pat Toomey is wavering on a particular point, and I got messages from three organizations to put me in contact with his office. Now, I know that he’s been overwhelmed by opponents, for example, to this new travel ban. And that’s got to have an impact. So, I think the first thing to do is to take a position, sensitize members to the issues, raise their consciousness but then the next step has to be helping them to make contact. If we ever get to the point where we are like NAFSA, where we’re large enough that we can do so, it would be very beneficial if we actually get a legislative advocate, a lobbyist, or even join with the lobbyists of other organizations like NAFSA to exert power. That’s what usually happens in the United States to affect political change.
Will Brehm 29:20
So, as a special interest group, or potentially having a lobbyist lobbying on behalf of the interests of CIES, you know, it makes me wonder whether or not CIES has uniform interests across the body, across all of its members. Because I could imagine a situation where there would be disagreement among members. So, having a lobbyist might be rather challenging for CIES.
David Post 29:50
We’re not even there yet. In order to even formulate ideas, the first step would be to have a social action, or a political action committee of the board with broad participation from members and invite people, just as we have now. Ad hoc committees on knowledge mobilization, or standing committees on new scholars, if we had a committee that would put together some ideas that would be broadly representative of the membership. And of course, we’re not going to agree on everything. But I think that in the next few years, there’s going to be remarkable consensus among our members about some of the policies we’re going to be seeing from this Trump administration.
Will Brehm 30:31
So, the key here is that you envision CIES taking more political stances in the future.
David Post 30:40
In general, the stance would be outward, not directed into the regulation of CIES because, I think, now we’ve got a professional staff to do some of that. We don’t need any more for the officers to spend an inordinate amount of time organizing the conferences, overseeing the journal, the journal is in good hands. Indiana Conferences and Institutes is doing a great job actually administering the meetings, the new executive directors are doing a great job overseeing Indiana Conferences. So, this leaves all kinds of space for the officers to do things out in the world. Do things that relate to education policy, and especially in the United States.
Will Brehm 31:27
So, I mean, that’s right. So, CIES is a US-North America body of comparative education societies and other regions, and other countries have their own. But at the same time, CIES is a very international group. It has members from all over the world. So, how do you balance this being a US organization but also having members from all over the world?
David Post 31:53
That’s a great question. I guess that we can’t ignore the fact that we’re participants. We’re all interested in international education policies. The use of standardized testing, for example, there was a great conference in Phoenix recently on this question and it should continue. I’m not suggesting that CIES completely look inward. But as you exactly point out, we are incorporated in the United States, we don’t claim to be the World Council. We understand that the Canadians, the Mexicans, the Europeans have their own societies. We ought to, right now, use whatever connections and abilities we have to influence the governments closest to us. So, while without ignoring international education policy issues, we have to be much more attentive to what’s happening with this current administration.
Will Brehm 32:50
What about CIES, kind of, in the World Congress of comparative education societies, which is an umbrella organization, where all different societies from around the world come together and work together and hold a conference every two years? What sort of role do you see CIES playing going forward in that Congress?
David Post 33:14
Well, it’s a dues-paying member but we have to be conscious of the World Council’s history. It was formed, largely, not an opposition to the US CIES but to provide alternatives for people in Canada, in Japan, I think these were the two first other comparative education societies and then elsewhere in the world. So, I think that we can be good participants, good citizens, good members of the World Council. But we ought to let others from other parts of the world play a strong role and set the agenda for that body.
Will Brehm 33:50
When you look at the history of CIES as a society. Have you ever thought that there was a wrong turn that was taken? Anything that you disagreed with in the direction of CIES?
David Post 34:08
Well, yes. I think that the biggest obvious mistake from the point of view of the memberships, those who’ve been members for at least more than five years or so, they probably noticed that we lost a newsletter for three years. And this wasn’t out of any intention by the board. It was as -did you just use the word mistake or wrong turn? It wasn’t a conscious wrong turn. It was basically an oversight. People just dropped the ball during the transition from the old model of the secretary treasurer, the secretariat that was at SUNY Albany, and before that at Florida International, kind of dropped the ball. Long story short, yes. I think that was really a problematic period for us. The SIGs continued having newsletters, the SIGs continued integrating their membership within their special interest groups. But I’m just so glad and I’m just so grateful to Marianne Larsen and those who finally made possible for us to resurrect this newsletter because I think that’s one thing that was really a mistake.
Will Brehm 35:16
In one of those newsletters that Marianne Larsen’s team put out, I read a little opinion piece by Fran Vavrus talking about the rise of international organizations and international development agencies playing in CIES. And I wanted to know what you thought. What’s the proper role of these international agencies in CIES?
David Post 35:42
I read that piece too. I don’t have it in front of me right now. But I think what Fran was talking about was not so much their presence inside of CIES but their presence at the annual meeting. The fact that they were what started out as an exhibit for publishers, people bringing books and articles and magazines and so forth to sell but also just to share with members became, by the time she was writing, more of a fair, and a kind of an advertisement for different NGOs that were all, of course trying to raise their own profiles, for completely different reasons. Not all of them, scholarly reasons. Not all of them in line with the mission of CIES. I think that’s what she was really concerned about. But in terms of participating in CIES, don’t forget that these international agencies and organizations, they’re not members of CIES, only individual human beings can be a member of CIES. Well, university libraries can be too. But those are the only categories of membership. So, I think that we have to be open, we want to be open, for many people outside of academia and outside of government to join the CIES and many of those jobs. And many of those people are indeed working in international organizations, which is wonderful. I think that’s a separate question from the one that Fran was raising in that article.
Will Brehm 37:08
What about challenges that you envision that the society will have to overcome in the next few years?
David Post 37:17
Well, I mean, you’re asking this at a very sensitive moment. I guess, your listeners to these interviews are going to understand that you’re asking us these questions in the days right after the Trump administration, by decree, blocked entry to the United States of many people, or even people at first with permanent residency status from seven countries. And the reason they were listed as countries, according to Rudolph Giuliani, is because it would have been politically difficult for him to follow through with his original plan to put a moratorium and stoppage on immigration by Muslims. So, rather than do that this was the workaround for that. We know that, everybody knows that. That’s why there was such outcry here. That’s why you’ve seen, I’m sure, even over in Japan, you’ve seen the images and in airports, in front of the White House. This is a prohibition against something that’s fundamental to CIES, which is the international exchange of information and ideas. The flow of people is related to the flow of information and ideas. We have members, dues-paying members, from those seven countries that are prohibited now from coming to the United States. I don’t know whether any of them were planning on going to the meeting in Atlanta but it’s an outrage. It’s terribly unjust and it violates all the principles of CIES. Long story short, Will, you asked me the challenges of the next few years. If you had asked me this, maybe a month ago, I might have given you something else. But right now, in the heat of this, I really can’t see past the fact that the current US administration is going to present many challenges for all international organizations, not only CIES but many other allied organizations. Go on the website of NAFSA and you’ll see a very outspoken statement in opposition to what this administration is doing. And I’m glad to know that we’re following suit. These are the main challenges we’re going to face in the next few years.
Will Brehm 39:42
Do you think the letter that was sent out by the CIES board, the current board, do you think that was outspoken enough? Do you think it went far enough in criticizing the Trump administration’s ban?
David Post 39:58
That’s a statement of principles. And that’s an important and essential first step. As I mentioned in an answer to an earlier question of yours, though, I think that other things have to be done. I’ll give you -I hate to just personalize this. But I mean, just in my own life, I’ve been a participant of several other organizations that have done exactly what CIES did. But I use the example of my own Jewish synagogue. We also had a similar statement, but we have then all the phone numbers and all the ways to contact representatives in Washington and here in central Pennsylvania. And we asked members to do something about it. We didn’t just announce that we, the board, believes this. And we feel such and such, which is important. It has to be said. So, yes, I think it’s very important that the board has done this. It’s only the second time that the board has made any kind of a political statement in the last few years. And the next step is going to be organizing. Getting members involved and showing them what they can do.
Will Brehm 41:02
And yesterday, I saw online that there’s a petition for academics to protest going to the US for any conference because of this ban. And I’ve noticed that a few members of the CIES society have signed their name onto that petition. How would you respond as a president or vice president of the Comparative and International Education Society, when you see members basically saying we’re not going to be attending the main event of the society?
David Post 41:40
Your question has two parts. And I’ll answer the part that you meant to ask me first. I would state to those people that we need you. We need you here. We need your bodies, we need your support to present a strong international front against the policies of this administration. We are the opposite of isolationist, we’re internationalists, and we need you to be on our side because we can’t do it alone. So, I think that boycotting an organization that is your ally is exactly the wrong way to go. Embedded in your question, though, there’s something else that I was hoping you would bring up, and you brought it up indirectly when you talk about the annual conference being our main event. I’m a little bit uneasy about putting all of our eggs in one basket and about having so much attention to this event. This year, it’ll be in Atlanta, next year, it’ll be in Mexico City. They’re great. I love these conferences, I never miss them. They’re an important part of my year, too. But I don’t think that that has to be the main thing that CIES does. I mean, for one thing, the other main thing we do is we subsidize the Comparative Education Review, which is great. And since Marianne Larsen has resurrected the newsletter, we publish a newsletter. But we can be much more than that. We can be much more than a conference organization. So, the types of actions, the types of concerted energies that I’m hoping to organize, if I’m lucky enough to become a vice president and later, president, will be, not so much centered around the meeting because I think that that’s already in good shape. But we’ll find other main things to do besides have a meeting.
Will Brehm 43:32
So, let’s envision and imagine 10 years from now after the Trump administration is long gone, how or where do you see CIES? Like, what are the activities it’s doing? How would you envision the state of the society in 10 years?
David Post 43:52
I’d like it to institutionalize some of the energies and maybe passions that I hear now in my own answers to your questions, and also in my colleagues. To institutionalize it though, so that there’s a more or less permanent place for CIES in Washington, and at the World Bank, and in other decision-making institutions starting here at home. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, we can’t ever drop the ball and lose sight of the international education policy issues that we know are so important, but we need to become more active here in the United States. Currently, Will, in Washington, you go to Washington, you ask anybody to name an educational organization called CIES and you know what, the first thing they think of is the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, which manages Fulbright. Now, the point is, I don’t want to change our name, but I would like to at least be in some part of the picture, so the people at least know who we are. Right now, the only people who even know what CIES is, are the members, the dues-paying members of this CIES. We’re much smaller than NAFSA but eventually we could follow their lead or even ally CIES with them to support some of the same legislation. We believe in educational diplomacy and soft power that is behind student exchange and many of us have benefited from Fulbright scholarships. All this is soon going to be attacked under this administration. The budget is going to be cut and a nationalist as opposed to an internationalist agenda is going to come about. When the Trump administration is finally gone, I hope that the CIES has become more than a conference organization, that it has a permanent place in the decision-making apparatus in the US government and in international bodies.
Will Brehm 45:57
Well, David Post, thanks so much for joining FreshEd and best of luck in the voting.
David Post 46:02
Okay, thanks so much for having me, Will. Take care now.
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