SPIA Newsletter

A Message from the School Director

Dear SPIA Alumni and Friends,

    I hope you are all faring well. As Director of the School of Public and International Affairs (formerly the Department of Political Science), I want to say a quick hello and tell you about some of the exciting changes going on at SPIA. We adopted a new unit structure in the spring, not as a name change, but as a mission shift — to become more intentional in positioning our students, faculty, staff, and alumni and friends to make positive public impact. See our new vision statement in the section below. To advance this mission, we have welcomed three new staff members onto the SPIA team as Program Coordinators dedicated to serving our students with more direct support: Christina Szigety, Levi Davidson, and Bethany Stollar. They join Business Administrator Evajean O'Neal and Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy Program Director Stephanie Ellis. We also have two new faculty, Dr. Lauren Forbes and Dr. Anita Dhillon, starting this month. You will be hearing from SPIA more regularly than in the past as we grow our programs, but one element we want to add is hearing more from you so our current students can be inspired and potentially connect with your talent and experiences.

    Please use this form or the end of this newsletter to update us on your successes, professionally and personally. To get that ball rolling, please take a moment to read about four PhD alumni from around the world who have gone on to great careers in academia and government. We will be back in the winter to update you on new programs with which you may wish to connect, but until then, check out the School’s website.

All the best,

Richard J. Harknett, PhD. Professor and Director School of Public and International Affairs

Dr. Chunhou Zhang

Dr. Chunhou Zhang

Dr. Chunhou Zhang is a native Chinese professor who acquired his Ph.D. of Political Science from the University of Cincinnati in 2005 after obtaining his Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University in 1998. At Central Michigan University, he published Mao Zedong as Poet and Revolutionary Leader and two research papers, all coauthored with C. Edwin Vaughan. Before his educational journey in the United States, Dr. Zhang received a Certificate of Philosophy and his Bachelor’s degree from Shaanxi Normal University in China. While at the University of Cincinnati in the early 2000s, Dr. Zhang studied American presidential elections and was very interested by the way Americans are divided by partisanship. Through his studies, he was able to compare American elections to the change of Chinese dynasties. He found similarities in the way that economics, issues of national security, and group relationships affect power shifts. His doctoral dissertation was centered around American Electoral Psychology, and the dissertation has been published both in the United States and China, coauthored with Dr. Michael Margolis.

Prior to finishing his doctorate, Dr. Zhang returned to China in 2002, so, he finished his doctoral dissertation in Xi’an, China, and defended his dissertation via video conference.

After obtaining his doctoral degree across the globe, he was employed by Yan’an University, where he worked from 2006 to 2014 at the College of Political Science and Law. While there, Dr. Zhang published a Chinese version of his doctoral dissertation and a Chinese-English version of Mao Zedong as Poet and Revolutionary Leader, as well as 30 research papers, of which three were awarded at provincial level. Altogether he has published five books and 60 research and translated papers.

He has won research projects at national, provincial and city levels in China. His recent project is a translation project, The Historical Dynamics of Chinese Politics, sponsored by Chinese Fund for the Humanities and Social Sciences. This book puts forward a new perspective on the historical dynamics of Chinese politics for better understanding China’s politics and offers a comparative analysis of China's governance achievements in world politics. Based on this premise, this book attempts to explain the democratic discourse of contemporary Chinese political logic.

He is currently working on a new book manuscript which studies the way groups of people and nation-states eventually learn from each other. He says that much of modern history is learned from ancient Chinese history, and now China is learning from the West. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows all countries to progress together.

Dr. Zhang is currently a professor of political science at Shaanxi Institute of International Trade and Commerce and lives in Xi’An with his family.

Dr. Luis Lobo-Fernandes
Dr. Maria Helena Guimaraes

Dr. Luís Lobo-Fernandes and Dr. Maria Helena Guimarães

In the summer of 1990, Dr. Luís Lobo-Fernandes and Dr. Maria Helena Guimarães arrived in Cincinnati from Portugal as Fulbright graduate students with their eight-month-old son, Bernardo, in tow. For three years, the couple lived on campus while raising their son and studying simultaneously. After much hard work, Luís and Helena defended their dissertations in 1995. Luís focused on the question of "state autonomy in the European Union", advised by Dr. Joel D. Wolfe. Helena’s work revolved around the issue of "trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights", advised by Dr. Marshall R. Goodman. Both Helena and Luís want to highlight the tremendous education they received at UC in the fields of political science and international relations, as well as the wonderful professors they had during their doctoral programs. In particular: Richard J. Harknett, Joel D. Wolfe, and Wolfgang Mayer, as well as the late Michael S. Margolis and David Resnick were of great help in their development, which led to very successful careers.

After finishing their doctorates at UC, Luís went onto another Fulbright program as a visiting scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle, while Helena was a visiting scholar at American University in Washington DC.

Now back in Portugal, Dr. Maria Helena Guimarães is a tenured Associate Professor at University of Minho in Portugal and was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European integration by the European Union. She was appointed President of the School of Economics and Management of University of Minho in 2010, and was elected President of the School Council in 2019. In 2017, she was elected for the General Council of University of Minho, the supervising governing body of the University.

Dr. Luís Lobo-Fernandes is a Full Professor of Political Science and International Relations for the School of Economics and Management at the University of Minho, and a former Pro-Rector of the University of Minho. He co-authored a publication that received the best book award of the Portuguese Political Science Association in 2021, titled Political Science in Portugal: the discipline discussed by its protagonists. Luís was recently invited to coordinate a special issue of the journal R:I (n. 71) titled “Chinese expansion: a considerable dilemma” published by the Portuguese Institute of International Relations.

Together they are Evaluators for the Fulbright Commission in Lisbon, something they’ve been participating in for over ten years. They have another son, Rodrigo, who recently finished an internship at the American Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal and they currently reside in Braga, Portugal.

Dr. Rafael Ranieri

Dr. Rafael Ranieri

Dr. Rafael Ranieri defended his dissertation, “Thinking Situationally About the Role of International Institutions: The Dynamics of Change in the International System and the Role of the World Trade Organization,” in 2011 before accepting an internship at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) where he conducted research on progress in promoting inclusive growth across developing countries. Findings were presented in a series of publications, including IPC-IG Working Paper 104, finalist of the Global Development Network 2012 Global Development Awards and Medals Competition.

In April of 2012, Dr. Ranieri left IPC-IG to join the Secretariat of International Affairs at Brazil's Ministry of Planning, taking office as a Policy Advisor to the unit responsible for managing Brazil's engagement with most of the Development Financing Institutions (DFIs) of which the country is a member. Over the course of a little over five years, he increasingly took up additional responsibilities, coming to head the unit and exercise executive positions at the governance bodies of several DFIs, including the African Development Bank, CAF - Latin American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, FONPLATA, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He also took charge of the unit responsible for managing the portfolio of Brazil’s financial commitments to around 150 international organizations, including DFIs, UN system agencies, and many others.     
Since August 2017, Dr. Ranieri has been at the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, advising the Executive Director representing Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia on the AfDB Group’s strategic engagement with member countries and regional and international stakeholders as it implements its mandate to support the development of the continent. He resides in Côte d’Ivoire with his wife and daughter and has enjoyed exploring the African continent when on leave from work.

Mission Statement

SPIA is the Nexus of Theory and Action. We forge big ideas that foster public impact. We partner with students, communities, and governments to inspire innovative ideas and action; build trust and engagement in democratic governance nationally and globally; and champion the pursuit of human progress centered on equity and justice.

Alumni and Friends Highlights

In future newsletters we want to share your good news, be it your career or fun updates about you personally. Ultimately, we seek to have SPIA become an anchor of activity linking students with former students all around a mission that overcomes the challenges of our times with careful thinking and dedicated involvement. Please fill out our survey and let us know what you are up to.

Rich Harknett, Chair, Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy.

SPIA Director Dr. Richard Harknett

Message from the Director

Dear Alumni and Friends,

        It is with great pleasure that I update you with our exciting news that your Department of Political Science has transformed to the University of Cincinnati’s new School of Public and International Affairs. As a unit we have been growing in size and in programming through the adoption of a strategic plan to bring a greater intentionality to creating public impact through our research and service and to position students to do the same. This means taking the intellectual exercise of university life and translating it directly into public policy contexts and action. We have adopted the construct of SPIA—the Nexus of Theory and Action and we want to engage you, our alumni and friends, to partner with us in this new mission. We will now regularly communicate with you through a newsletter several times a year to provide you updates on our student, staff, and faculty successes and we wish this to become a two-way street in which we hear from you and position you for greater success and, if you wish, to help us advance our students on their career paths. To start that engagement, I invite you to fill out this short 4- minute survey so we can re-connect.

       Our faculty and staff have come together around a vision statement that operationalizes our Nexus of Theory and Action construct: In and through SPIA, we forge big ideas that foster public impact. We partner with students, communities, and governments to inspire innovative ideas and action, build trust and engagement in democratic governance nationally and globally, and champion the pursuit of human progress centered on equity and justice.

          Reconnect with us on this mission!


April 2022

                We led two big events to highlight SPIA’s opening. We hosted Dr. Ben Buchanan, a professor from Georgetown, who currently is serving in the White House Office of Technology. Dr. Buchanan took our students through a fascinating exploration of the challenges of artificial intelligence, algorithms, and national security. This was our annual Taft Research Center Lecture. Dr. Harknett’s speech formally opening SPIA can be read here.

Dr. Buchanan Lecturing

Dr. Ben Buchanan Lecturing on 4/7/22.

       Our second event was our Michael Margolis lecture on Digital Citizenship. We had the great fortune to have Dr. Karen Mossberger lead us in a discussion, “Digital Citizenship at a Crossroads: Inequality and Opportunity.”  By completing our survey, we can add you to virtual links to such lectures in the future, so you too can join us for deeper dives into critical issues facing our country and the world.

        We also held our annual Student Awards Ceremony. The sheer breadth and depth of quality among our newest graduates is astonishing, made all the more remarkable due to their perseverance through the last two years of pandemic-disrupted education. Take a look at their awards and where they are going at our dedicated awards website.

Highlights of Theory and Action

Each newsletter we will provide you some in depth coverage of at least one aspect of SPIA’s efforts to translate our work into public impact. In this issue, we highlight our national and internationally recognized work on cybersecurity.

The Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy (CCSP), which sits in SPIA, is the research arm of the Ohio Cyber Range Institute (OCRI), an education, workforce and economic development platform that connects SPIA with UC’s School of Information Technology and the Dept of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The OCRI is a state of Ohio platform housed and administered by the leaders of these three UC units.

Copy of Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy

CCSP has been recognized for its leading edge research on cyber persistence. Dr. Harknett went on loan from UC to serve as Scholar-in-Residence at US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, where he contributed to developing the new operational strategy of persistent engagement. His new book, released last month, has a Foreword written by General Nakasone who heads both organizations.

Due to its role, CCSP is hosting the first US Cyber Command Faculty Workshop on Cyber Persistence at UC for researchers from around the country. Through its grant work, CCSP can support the next generation of cyber leaders by funding student research. This past year, we supported scholarships and fellowships for 11 students at the undergrad and graduate levels, a post-doctoral researcher, and a faculty fellow.

CCSP is also supporting a summer Cyber Workshop and training for Philippine military officers and the state of Ohio’s first virtualized OPFOR v Blue training exercise for Ohio’s Cyber Civilian Reserve.

For those new to cybersecurity or wanting a new way to learn about it, CCSP is also pioneering to creation of motion graphic videos. We hope these cyber visualizations will become a new niche for us. Watch them, like them, and share with colleagues on your social media platforms. We also publish accessible public-oriented white papers call Kybernao. You can find our back issues here.

We also offer virtual cyber salons that you can join. Join our mailing list and social media.

In cyber strategy and policy, your SPIA faculty and students are making a difference contributing to a more secure and stable cyberspace.

Alumni and Friends Highlights

In future newsletters we want to share your good news, be it your career or fun updates about you personally. Ultimately, we seek to have SPIA become an anchor of activity linking students with former students all around a mission that overcomes the challenges of our times with careful thinking and dedicated involvement. Please fill out our survey and let us know what you are up to.