thomas_volgy_1Status is “soft” power, and the quest for status and its maintenance exist not only on Facebook but between nations and cultures as well.

What status is and how it is determined and used among nations will be discussed in a two-part lecture series at the Arizona Senior Academy on successive Thursdays, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, by Thomas J. Volgy, former Tucson mayor, current UA Professor of Political Science and director of the International Studies Association.

Incorporating over eight years of research and his work with the U.S. State Department in post-Cold War Russia and Central Asia, Volgy’s two-part lecture on “International Politics: the Pursuit and Importance of Status” will look at the major international powers – the U.S., Russia and China – and other important nations in terms of perceived status and foreign policy results. Each lecture will begin at 3:30 p.m.

In next Thursday’s (Oct. 17) first lecture, Volgy will focus on the major world powers and discuss international “hard” and “soft” power, the ability to influence the direction of other nations’ foreign policy decisions and subsequent actions.

Hard power can be connected to international power influencers such as the size of a nation’s military and economic strength.  Soft power, on the other hand, involves diplomacy, media information, foreign aid assistance and cultural programs to achieve foreign policy goals.  Combining hard and soft power equals what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called “smart power.”

International status strategies and perceived ranking by other foreign policy decision makers and the factors for status strategies will be highlighted in Volgy’s first lecture.

He is internationally known among academics for his research and published work in the field of global affairs. As executive director of the International Studies Association, the largest association of its kind focusing on international politics, he represents a membership of over 5,000 scholars from 80 countries.

He is the editor of a 2011 book on status, “Major Powers and the Quest for Status in International Politics: Global and Regional Perspectives,” published by Palgrave Macmillan. He served on the Tucson City Council from 1977 to 1987, and was mayor of Tucson from 1987 to 1991. He’s been on the UA faculty since 1971.

The two Volgy lectures were made possible by a generous gift from Arizona Senior Academy members Joan and Gary Heymann.

Submitted by George Scholz, Academy Village Volunteer

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The Importance of ‘Status’ in International Politics: Oct. 2013