Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 24, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

McCain Institute for International Leadership


  • Arizona State University is launching the nonprofit McCain Institute for International Leadership. ASU President Michael Crow talks about the mission of the new nonpartisan education and research institute that is funded initially by a $9 million gift from a charitable trust established by Arizona Senator John McCain.
Guests:
  • Michael Crow - ASU President
Category: Education   |   Keywords: nonpartisan, McCain Institute for International Leadership, ASU,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. ASU IS LAUNCHING A NEW INSTITUTE FOCUSED ON INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP. THE McCAIN INSTITUTE IS NAMED FOR ARIZONA SENATOR JOHN McCAIN, WHO RECENTLY CREATED A CHARITABLE TRUST TO FUND THE INSTITUTE. I TALKED TO ASU PRESIDENT MICHAEL CROW ABOUT THE NEW VENTURE. GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANKS FOR JOINING US TONIGHT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

Michael Crow: HAPPY TO BE HERE.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS. THE McCAIN INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP, WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT?

Michael Crow: WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE IS WASHINGTON RIGHT NOW IS FILLED WITH A NUMBER OF THINK TANKS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT THINK OF THEMSELVES THAT WAY. THEY TEND TO PRODUCE WHITE PAPERS AND ACADEMIC PAPERS AND LOTS OF TALK. WE THOUGHT IT WAS TIME TO ADVANCE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF INSTITUTION. AN INSTITUTION FOCUSED ON DECISION-MAKING AND ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEADERS TO MAKE DECISIONS. AND SENATOR McCAIN AND OTHERS CAME TO US, BEGAN WORKING WITH US RELATIVE TO AN IDEA, AND WE HAVE ADVANCED TO THE POINT NOW WHERE WE ARE LAUNCHING THE McCAIN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR LEADERSHIP.

Ted Simons: NONPARTISAN, NONPROFIT EDUCATION RESEARCH CENTER. CAN YOU GET SOMETHING LIKE THIS NONPARTISAN?

Michael Crow: YOU CAN GET IT NONPARTISAN BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE PARTISAN DEBATE OVER POLITICAL THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON AT THE MOMENT. THIS INSTITUTE WILL FOCUS ON ISSUES RELATED TO NATIONAL SECURITY, RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, AND RELATED TO HUMANITARIAN EVENTS. IN THOSE CASES WHAT YOU ARE REALLY AFTER IS, IF YOU ARE ENCOUNTERING SITUATION X THAT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT BE OCCURRING IN EASTERN AFRICA, OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS OR IN THE CONGO OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS OR THE MIDDLE EAST OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, YOU CAN PUT OUT A RANGE OF DECISIONS, A RANGE OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF DECISIONS. WE CALL THESE DECISION PROTOTYPES. AND THEN YOU CAN LOOK AT THESE DECISION PROTOTYPES AND LEARN FROM THESE DECISION PROTOTYPES AND ULTIMATELY INFORM DECISION MAKERS. SO PARTISAN POSITIONING IN ALL OF THAT IS NOT REALLY RELEVANT.

Ted Simons: HOW WOULD THESE DECISION PROTOTYPES BE DEVELOPED? AND WHERE?

Michael Crow: THEY WOULD BE DEVELOPED BY GROUPS OF YOUNG LEADERS THAT WOULD BE BROUGHT IN AS McCAIN FELLOWS. THEY WOULD BE DEVELOPED BY BRINGING IN PEOPLE FROM AGENCIES, FROM INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTS, FROM OTHER TYPES OF INSTITUTIONS. THEY WOULD INVOLVE ASU FACULTY, FACULTY FROM OTHER INSTITUTIONS INCLUDING GEORGETOWN THAT WE ARE WORKING WITH AND OTHERS. ASU STUDENTS AND OTHERS. IT WOULD BE BASICALLY EVERY BRAIN THAT WE COULD BRING TO WEAR THAT WOULD HAVE SOME CAPABILITY OF HELPING TO DEVELOP A DECISION PROTOTYPE ABOUT A REALLY COMPLEX PROBLEM.

Ted Simons: AND IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH, FROM WHAT I HAVE BEEN READING ABOUT THIS, YOU ARE TRYING TO ROW MOAT WHAT IS CHARACTERIZED AS CHARACTER DRIVEN LEADERSHIP.

Michael Crow: IT HAS TO DO WITH THE AMERICAN CHARACTER. WE BELIEVE IN HELPING OTHER PEOPLE. WE BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY. WE BELIEVE IN THE CORE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH OUR COUNTRY IS FOUNDED. WHEN YOU ARE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH REALLY COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL EVENTS, YOU NEED TO HAVE THE AMERICAN CHARACTER AS A PART OF HOW YOU ENGAGE THESE THINGS. ARE WE ACTUALLY GOING TO ALLOW THOSE PEOPLE TO STARVE? ARE WE ACTUALLY NOT GOING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE WHATEVER ASSETS THAT WE HAVE TO HELP BRING ABOUT A RESOLUTION IN A PART OF THE WORLD WHERE A RESOLUTION IS POSSIBLE? AND SO WHEN CHARACTER IS REFERRED TO IT'S THE AMERICAN CHARACTER.

Ted Simons: WHY IS ASU INVOLVED IN SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

Michael Crow: WELL, THE McCAIN FAMILY VISITED MORE THAN ONE INSTITUTION. AND SELECTED ASU AS THE SITE TO HELP DEVELOP THIS AND THE TEAM TO HELP DEVELOP THIS IDEA. SO WE ARE VERY HONORED BY THAT. BUT WE ARE ALSO INVOLVED BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT WE CAN'T KEEP DOING THINGS THE SAME WAY. WE CAN'T KEEP ARGUING ABOUT THE SAME TONALITY. WE CAN'T KEEP TAKING PARTISAN VIEWS AND SOMEHOW THINKING THAT ONE SIDE WILL ULTIMATELY DEFEAT THE OTHER SIDE AND THEN ALL THEIR VIEWS WILL SOMEHOW BECOME PRACTICE. HOW ABOUT APPROACHING THINGS FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE? WE HAVE LEARNED A LOT WHERE OUR DECISION THEATER WE HAVE BEEN OPERATING THE LAST FIVE OVER SIX YEARS WITH DIFFERENT PROJECTS WE HAVE UNDERTAKEN. IT'S ABOUT HOW TO GET DISPARATE VIEWS AND DISPARATE IDEAS ALL AT THE SAME TABLE AND THROUGH DECISION PROTOTYPING MECHANISMS, FIND A WAY TO COME UP WITH THINGS WHERE PEOPLE SAY, YEAH, THAT'S AN OPTION, THAT MIGHT WORK, THAT MIGHT WORK. OR YOU CAN MAKE THESE SIMULATED DECISIONS AND THEN GET A SENSE OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU IMPLEMENT THEM RATHER THAN JUST TALKING ABOUT THEM.

Ted Simons: AND AGAIN YOU KIND OF REFERRED TO THIS EARLIER BUT FROM A DISTANCE THIS SOUNDS LIKE A THINK TANK. HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM A TRADITIONAL THINK TANK?

Michael Crow: THINK TANKS ARE LARGELY INVOLVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A POINT OF VIEW. MOST OF THEM ARE PARTISAN. THEY ARE EITHER RIGHT OF CENTER OR LEFT OF CENTER. THERE ARE A FEW THAT AREN'T. AND EVEN THOSE THAT AREN'T ARE STILL INVOLVED IN BASICALLY THE DEBATE. WE THINK THAT SOMETHING THAT'S MISSING IS THIS NOTION OF AMERICAN VALUES-BASED PROTOTYPE DECISIONS WHERE SOMEBODY CAN SAY, WELL, WE HAVE LOOKED AT THAT SITUATION. THESE 150 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INVOLVE IN THIS FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS, VARIOUS CONNECTIONS TO THE INSTITUTE. AND THIS PROTOTYPE DECISION SAYS THAT BASED ON EVERYTHING WE KNOW, HERE ARE THE FOUR OPTION AND THE PROBABLE OUTCOMES OF THESE OPTIONS. SIMILAR IN SOME WAYS TO THE WAY THAT MILITARY PLANNING HAS OCCURRED IN THE PAST BUT DIFFERENTIATED NOW AND MORE COMPLEX BECAUSE IT'S DEALING WITH SOCIAL ISSUES, ECONOMIC ISSUES, ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, MILITARY ISSUES, SECURITY ISSUES, HUMANITARIAN ISSUES NOW LOOK AT ALL THOSE THINGS.

Ted Simons: WHEN YOU LOOK AT ALL THOSE THINGS AND WE MENTIONED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS, AND YOU CALL WOULD IT A DECISION TANK, I SUPPOSE, A THINK TANK, HOW DO YOU GET PAST THE CLUTTER? IF YOU COME UP WITH AN IDEA, IF DECISION THEATER AND ALL THE SCHOLARLY BASIS COMES UP WITH A REALLY GOOD IDEA HOW DO YOU GET TO THE FOREFRONT OF THAT PARADE?

Michael Crow: YOU GET TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE PARADE BY BRINGING IN ACTUAL DECISION-MAKERS AND PUT THEM INTO THE DECISION TANK ENVIRONMENT AND YOU SAY, LET'S WORK THROUGH IT. SO MORE REPORTS, NO MORE WHITE PAPERS BUT LET'S VISUALIZE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT PARTICULAR DECISION OPTION. LET'S WALK THROUGH, IN A WAY, WHERE EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE WHATEVER THEY WANT TO CHANGE. WE WANT TO CHANGE THAT? WE WILL CHANGE THAT PART OF THE DECISION AND THEN RUN THAT DECISION WITH THAT PARAMETER NOW ALTERED. WE HAVE DONE THIS IN WATER DECISION-MAKING. WE HAVE DONE THIS IN ENERGY DECISION-MAKING HERE IN ARIZONA. WE HAVE LEARNED A LOT FROM THIS AND WE THINK THAT CAN BE APPLIED IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE.

Ted Simons: WITH THE UNIVERSITY INVOLVED HOW ARE STUDENTS INVOLVED?

Michael Crow: STUDENTS ARE ALREADY BEGINNING TO GET INVOLVED BECAUSE WE NEED STUDENTS TO USE THEIR ENERGY AND THEIR DRIVE AND THEIR RESEARCH SKILLS TO HELP BUILD THE UNDERPINNING FOR MANY OF THESE DECISION PROTOTYPING EXERCISES. FOR INSTANCE, RIGHT NOW WE ARE JUST ABOUT TO LAUNCH A GROUP OF STUDENTS WHO WILL TAKE EVERYTHING THAT'S KNOWN ABOUT THE EASTERN CONGO, BRING THAT ALTOGETHER AND BUILD IT AS A DECISION TOOL, A LIVE DECISION INTERACTIVE TOOL. TELL ME ABOUT THIS OR TELL ME ABOUT THAT? BRINGING IN DATA, BRINGING IN ANALYSIS, BRINGING IN MODELS, BRINGING IN PHOTOS, BRINGING IN ANIMATIONS, WHATEVER IT HAPPENS TO BE, WHATEVER IS OUT THERE, THE ENTIRE KNOWN INTERACTIVE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT A PARTICULAR PLACE THAT'S HAVING A PARTICULAR SET OF DEVELOPMENT ISSUES WHERE THERE'S PARTICULARLY HIGH LEVELS OF HUMAN SUFFERING, WHERE THE UNITED STATES HAS A LOT OF INTERESTS TO POTENTIALLY THINK ABOUT HOW TO BE HELPFUL. STUDENTS WILL BEGIN, BE INVOLVED IN THAT. STUDENTS WILL ALSO BE INVOLVED THROUGH COURSES THAT WILL BE BUILT AROUND THESE DECISION PROTOTYPES. AND STUDENTS WILL ALSO BE INVOLVED IN BEING A PART OF RUNNING THE THING.

Ted Simons: I ASKED THIS LAST QUESTION HERE, I ASKED EARLIER WHERE IS ASU INVOLVED. FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE, FOR THOSE WHO HEAR THIS, THIS IS A GREAT IDEA, BUT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, WHY ASU? WHY THIS PARTICULAR EFFORT WHEN MOST FOLKS THINK OF THE UNIVERSITY WITH IVY AND CLASSROOMS AND THAT KIND -- THINKS, AGAIN, HOW DOES THIS HELP ASU? HOW DOES THIS MOVE ASU, YOUR IDEA OF ASU FORWARD?

Michael Crow: WELL, IT REALLY HELPS MOVE OUR IDEA FOR ASU FORWARD BECAUSE ICE ABOUT HELPING TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS. SO WE ARE ABOUT SOLUTIONS. WE HAVE FANTASTIC FACULTY THERE AS IVY OR AS CLOISTERED AS ANYONE WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE BUT WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH THEIR ENERGY? WHAT WE WANT THEM TO DO, WE ALSO WANT THE INSTITUTION AND OUR STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE FOCUSED ON SOLUTIONS THAT ARE MEASURABLE AND DEMONSTRABLE. WE THINK THOSE PROVIDE FOR TREMENDOUS LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES. WE THINK THEY ARE OF BETTER SERVICE. WE THINK THIS IS A MISSING INGREDIENT AND ASU IS WELL DESIGNED AND WELL POSITIONED TO BE PART OF MOVING TOWARDS SOLUTIONS.

Ted Simons: PRESIDENT CROW, GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Michael Crow: NICE TO SEE YOU.

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