Research Activity - February 2020

Soila Lemmetty Visits from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland

February ResearchBetween the 6th of January and 7th of February, Soila Lemmetty, who is finishing her PhD at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, has visited our campus.

Her thesis is on adult education, in particular focused on workplace learning and creativity in technology intense organisations. She examines different organisational factors (e.g., leadership) that can support (or restrict) employees creativity and learning at work.

Soila obtained a grant to visit the Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation and we will be working together on a paper and a book proposal during her visit. Her aim is to share experiences from Finland with colleagues from Webster Geneva and to learn about how it is to work in an international environment and be inspired by multiple cultures and perspectives.

ROC Government Delegation Visits Webster Geneva Campus

February ResearchOn January 17, an ROC Government delegation visited Webster Geneva Campus to talk about the political and economic situation of Taiwan following the recent presidential elections. The delegation was led by Deputy Minister of Mainland Affairs Council, Dr. Ming-Chi Chen, who was accompanied Mr. Shih-Fan Lu of the Taipei Delegation/Mission in Geneva and three other officials.

Dr. Chen is the Deputy Head of ROC's cross-Strait affairs authority and an experienced scholar in Contemporary China Studies in Taiwan.

The ROC's officials met and talked with Capt. James E. Fanell, U.S. Navy (ret.), former Director of Intelligence and Information Operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Navy, and Government Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy; Dr. Dominique Jolly, Chair of the Walker School of Business & Technology, and Professor of Business Strategy, Webster Geneva Campus; Dr. Lionel P. Fatton, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Webster Geneva Campus; Dr. Oreste Foppiani, Head of the Department of International Relations and Associate Professor of International History & Politics..

Admiral De Giorgi on Italian TV News

February ResearchOn January 7 and 8, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, Adjunct Professor of International Security at Webster Geneva Campus and Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy from 2013 through 2016, appeared on three Italian national TV news channels (RAI News 24, La7 Omnibus, TG4), where he was invited to analyze the military and geopolitical implications of the current crises in Iran, Iraq, and Libya.

The Italian flag officer expressed his concern about the U.S. strategy in the Middle East; in particular, he wished that the attack on General Qasem Soleimani were part of a well-thought plan and not of an attempt to reaffirm a strong image of American power at home and within its allies.

Any military strategy pursued by the United States will have an impact on European foreign policy and military presence in the Middle East. This is especially true for the Italian forces on the ground, which are strictly dependent on the American troops and arms.

As De Giorgi affirmed, Italy is not equipped to take any initiative neither in Libya nor in Iraq; thus, the Boot is unlikely to emerge from this crisis as an influential power on the international chessboard.

Since the end of the Second World War, Italy relied on the U.S. military power and intervened as part of alliances and multilateral bodies. Italy thrives in a multilateral environment in conditions of peace, but it is incapable of asserting itself in times of conflict.

This, of course, puts its troops on the ground at higher risk. However, the former Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy assures, the world should not expect great military retaliation from Iran, but rather an increasing anti-American (and anti-foreign presence) pressure across the whole Middle East.

De Giorgi also mentioned the lack of stand-alone authority by the European Union, in matters of foreign policy. This, instead, since the birth of the Union, speaks through national interests—some voices are louder than others are and eventually manage to be heard at the international level.

Overall, however, the U.S. remains the key player number one in the international arena and its allies will have to wait for and adapt to its strategy to minimize their losses. This crisis, the Webster Geneva professor points out, also opens the door to initiatives by other actors including Russia, China and Turkey, which could exploit the opportunity in their favor, changing the game. (Text by Martina Castiglioni)

Conference at the Swiss Center for Military Histories and Prospectives

February ResearchOn December 7, 2019, three Webster University faculty members took part in a conference on surprise attacks sponsored by “Le Centre d’Histoires et de Prospectives Militaires” (CHPM). The event was held on December 7 (the date of the Japanese surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941) at the CHPM in Pully near Lausanne. The three faculty members were Dr. Oreste Foppiani, the head of the International Relations Department, Dr. Allyn Enderlyn, a professor of professional counseling who teaches in the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Professional Counseling, and Dr. Jubin Goodarzi, the deputy head of the International Relations Department. Dr. Foppiani who is also a reserve officer in the Italian navy, delivered a lecture on the historical importance of the British aerial attack on the Italian naval base at Taranto in 1940 during the Second World War. He described the unique nature of the attack, and emphasized that the success of the operation sounded the death knell of large battleships in naval warfare and highlighted the importance of aircraft and aerial superiority in future conflicts. Using photographs, Allyn Enderlyn provided a moving biographical account of her father, Captain Arthur Enderlyn, the son of Swiss immigrants to the United States who served in the US Navy and went on to work afterwards for the US National Security Agency (NSA). She explained that her father was at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day in December 1941 and described his contribution in telecommunications during his long service with the NSA. Jubin Goodarzi gave a presentation about the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the myth of the pre-emptive strike. He argued that the conventional, mainstream accounts of the conflict are incomplete and flawed. Goodarzi provided a detailed account and analysis of events leading up to the war and how Israel had been intent on waging war in order to humble Egypt’s leader Jamal Abd al-Nasser and seize the Golan Heights from Syria. Overall, the presentations of the three Webster Geneva faculty members were well received. They greatly benefitted from participating at the conference, meeting other scholars and experts at CHPM, located on the idyllic and picturesque shore of Lake Geneva.