Yale University

Dr. Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, gave a lecture Tuesday to address economic and social issues in Asia. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

Claiming the U.S. faces an era of global disorder, Michael Auslin, director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, discussed political and social problems in Asia at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on Tuesday.

Auslin, who is also a columnist for The Wall Street Journal Asia and a former Yale University history professor, said the U.S. government and governments of other major countries — including China and Japan — should work together to create a strategy that will help resolve political, economic and other types of issues in surrounding countries.

“All the U.S. or the United Nations does has an effect on the outside,” Auslin said. 

Auslin is currently working on a monograph, or a written study of a specialized subject, called “Ocean of Risks,” which will explain why Asia is globally important. Auslin believes the American government needs to see where the trends of democracy, militarization and economics are going in the region.

“I argue that the long run for the United States—for the next two generations or so—is going to be dependent in terms of our standing [in] the status of the world,” Auslin said. “Our economic health, our political influence and certainly the degree in which we uphold and maintain commitments around the world. And all of this is tied to Asia.”

The lecture was presented by the University’s Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft. After the talk, Jessica Carrillo, global policy studies graduate student, said she believes the U.S. and other nations should be more involved in helping their less politically stable allies.

“It is very important that students understand this conflict for the benefit of the future,” Carrillo said. “I believe that the U.S. should be involved in Asia and have a clear goal of what they want to do.”

As countries such as Ukraine and Syria face significant conflicts, Auslin believes the U.S. and other global powers should be concerned about the balance in Asia when it comes to power and stability. 

“As Dr. Auslin said, there should be a significant presence from the U.S. and other countries in these and other regions,” public policy graduate student Megan Reiss said. “We need to back up our allies and strengthen relationships.”

Arnulf Grubler, researcher at Yale University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, talks about maximizing energy efficiency as a better alternative to renewable energy sources at an energy symposium in the O’Donnell Jr. Building on Monday evening 

Photo Credit: Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

Major cities should not rely on renewable sources of energy but should, instead, focus on maximizing energy efficiency, according to Arnulf Grubler, researcher at Yale University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

In an energy symposium Monday, Grubler said renewable sources of energy are sufficient for rural areas because they require large amounts of open space to produce enough energy. Because of the limited space available in cities, however, renewables are not sufficient enough to prioritize.

“The largest improvements are when we change systems instead of individual components in systems,” Grubler said. “Locally generated renewables can, at best, provide 1 percent of the energy of cities. … Even if you were to use all the area of London, you could, at maximum, provide 15 percent of the energy used in London.”

Varun Rai, event organizer and assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said the complexity of cities causes their energy needs to be much more demanding.

“In the city, it’s not only that you’re running the building,” Rai said. “You’re also doing management and industrial processes, and that uses a lot of energy. It’s not that renewables cannot do the job; it’s that they can’t when confined. We need to focus on building efficiency. We have to think about things like public transport and urban forming.”

Grubler said there is great room for improvement in the development of systems that are more efficient, such as Vienna, Austria, which has a system with 50 percent efficiency.

Thomas Anderson, a first-year MBA student who attended the symposium, said he believes more should be done to encourage a focus on energy efficiency.

“People need to come up with more clever financial measures to push energy efficiency,” Anderson said.

Carson Stones, global policy studies graduate student and an organizer of the energy symposium, said he agrees with Grubler’s notion that focusing on efficiency in cities is the most important step forward in the urbanization of energy.

“It’s astounding how much more you can get from efficiency than anything else,” Stones said.

Photo Credit: Zoe Davis | Daily Texan Staff

In a talk at the John B. Connally Center for Justice on Monday, Allan Gerson, chairman of AG International Law, PLLC discussed the deportation of Nazi collaborators in the 1970s, lawsuits against Libya for the Pan American Flight 103 bombing and a lawsuit against Yale University for a valuable painting allegedly acquired unlawfully. 

“There are difficulties between navigating international law, international affairs and the uses of American law as practice in different quadrants,” Gerson said.

He talked about his experiences with international law in three different areas: individual accountability for war crimes, state accountability for the equivalent of war crimes and state accountability in U.S. quadrants, such as in the case of the lawsuit against Yale University.

“The questions about how this painting ever was sold to the United States dealt with actions taken by a foreign government, mainly Russia,” Gerson said. “Yale invoked the Act of State Doctrine to prevent a U.S. court from looking at the circumstances involving the taking and the sale of the painting, even though there was no objection from Russia itself.”

Austin resident Harvey Burg said finding where accountability lies can only be approached on a case-by-case basis.

“I think the speaker’s point was that, by immediately demanding accountability, you draw rigged lines, and, if your objective is to gain international cooperation and you accuse [a country] as being an aggressor [against another country], then you may create a situation in which there is no flexibility to negotiate results,” Burg said. “I would argue that in some instances that works, but, in other instances, it is fair to ask whether the failure to demand accountability permits unlawful aggressive behavior to continue.”

Gerson’s talk was presented by The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Gerson said Strauss, who died Wednesday at the age of 95, successfully bridged together law and international relations. During her introduction of Gerson, Ashley Moran, associate at the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, said she believed Strauss was a great public servant and a Texas legend.

“The legacy he leaves behind gives us all something to emulate,” she said. “His life and legacy really embodied all of those fields in private sector, public service and academia and something we strive to live up to at the Strauss Center.”

NEW YORK — New York City’s mayor is facing off with Yale University over efforts by the NYPD to monitor Muslim student groups.

The Associated Press revealed Saturday that NYPD officers had kept close watch on websites and blogs maintained by Muslim student associations across the northeast U.S., and in one case sent an undercover officer on a rafting trip with students from the City College of New York.

Yale President Richard Levin said in a statement Monday that monitoring of students based on religion was “antithetical” to the schools’ values.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the practice. He says there is nothing wrong with officers keeping an eye on websites that are available to the general public.

He says, “I don’t know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.”

The UT Department of Theatre and Dance set quite the scene Friday. The commotion didn’t come from the opening of a new play or the excitement of a casting call, but rather from the appearance of who many consider to be the greatest living actress of our time, Meryl Streep.

The audience roared when Streep stepped onto the stage of the humble Payne Theatre, jumping from their seats and bursting into enthusiastic applause. Appearing at UT as the most nominated actress in the history of film, Meryl Streep received a standing ovation, the highest sign of respect in the theater world, simply by walking onstage.
“[Today] is a day 10 years in the making, and a true test to the power of nagging,” said theater professor Fran Dorn.

Dorn, Streep’s longtime friend from Yale University, introduced her to a crowd of over 400 people from all aspects of the UT theatre world. The stage seemed set to open a play, adorned with a comfy armchair, a quaint circular rug, and a small hardwood table framed with a vase full of bright flowers.
“I’m in the theater department,” Streep said, her eyes twinkling, “I feel at home.”

The line of people to get into “A Conversation With Meryl Streep,” an audience-based Q-and-A forum, began to form at around 12 p.m. The air was abuzz with excitement, filled with bright eyes, smiles and breathless anticipation. First-year theater student Jonathan Mathews was one student in a crowd of about 40 early birds, waiting impatiently for the clock to strike 2:30.

“The things I’ve seen her in, she just blows my mind in her style of acting and the way she presents her characters,” Mathews said, “I think even though she is a woman actor I can learn a lot from her, from her style and techniques and the incredible ability she has in front of the camera and on the stage.”
The Department of Theatre and Dance finalized Streep’s visit last week.

Department head Lucien Douglas was astonished at the announcement of Streep’s visit.

“I said, ‘Who?’” Douglas said with a laugh. “We’re one of the biggest theater programs in the country, and any opportunity to build bridges with the professional world is absolutely wonderful.”

With a little over a week’s notice, Dorn and the department announced the event to its 400 theater and dance students. The impact was immediate, and the “Oh my god!” exclamations rang throughout the Winship Drama Building. Deemed “A Conversation With Meryl Streep,” the free event opened exclusively to theater and dance students and faculty members.

Dorn organized the event in hopes of inspiring students to persevere in the difficult theater industry, a business teeming with low job opportunities. Dorn said she hoped students would understand that Streep was a human being aside from being a movie star, someone who started where everyone else did and had her own problems and struggles in her career.
“I don’t consider myself the greatest living anything,” Streep said. “If I were in school, I’d be greeting this opportunity with a healthy dose of skepticism. A student [needs] to look for something that feels true instead of being handed wisdom.”

In her discussion, Streep acknowledged the rigid and unfair standards of the industry she has thrived in, such as the pressure on actors to keep a certain weight and to acquiesce to society’s standards of beauty. While an actress of Streep’s caliber seems to have been born for the stage, she humbly said that she, too, faced all the challenges that UT students face today.

“I go back and forth all the time, even right now,” Streep said with a laugh. “When I was in graduate school, I was in my third year towards a [Master’s in Fine Arts] in drama and acting, and I decided to take the law boards because I thought that maybe I wanted to be an environmental lawyer, [but] I slept through the test.”

Streep majored in theater and dance at Yale in 1972. As part of their liberal arts program, Streep said she had the chance to learn a little bit about everything, something she noted would be “unfashionable” today with the current focus on specific career path education. Despite her lack of particularity, Streep said her experience helped her understand the world and become a better person.

Aside from speaking to the Department of Theatre and Dance, Streep also went to lunch with the MFA graduate students before the event. MFA graduate student Amanda Morish called the experience “magical” and “humbling,” going on to express multiple levels of gratitude to Fran Dorn and the University of Texas.

“We love UT, and Fran is amazing. This visit is such a gift for us as actors because [Streep] is so inspirational and so amazing at what she does,” Morish said. “She’s one of kind, and to be able to learn from someone like that and be in their space is just a privilege. I feel very blessed.”

On the Payne Theatre stage, Streep was in her element. With a series of hand gestures and dynamic voice changes, she had the audience hanging on to her every word. She answered students’ questions in a thoughtful, humble and generous tone, completely unafraid of revealing that she had once stuffed her bra to get a role or admitting that she sometimes forgot her lines on purpose to soothe the anxieties of nervous actors.

Streep also took the audience on a journey through her college experience, describing a professor that wore English riding boots and took his crop to class. She prompted waves of laughter with the tale of her first emotional theater performance, in which she imagined she was the most famous actress in the world announcing her retirement, unable to continue working because she had hit the elderly age of 45.

With only an hour-and-a-half of conversation, Streep had inspired a burning hope in the hearts of everyone in the department.

“It just makes you wonder,” said senior Cat Hardy, “Fran Dorn went to school with her, and we’re going to school now. Who are we going to school with that we’re going to have come back and speak when we’re older? Maybe it will be one of us.”