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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University


Contact: Ted DeAdwyler
phone: (415) 338-1665

Post-Sept. 11: Interest up in international affairs at S.F. State

SAN FRANCISCO, December 19, 2001 - With the opening of spring semester classes just around the corner, San Francisco State University officials are preparing for the continued high interest by students in international affairs following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The departments of international relations and criminal justice will offer a new course on terrorism and covert political warfare; workshops are planned later in the year to help schoolteachers explain to children the significance of Sept. 11; and faculty in the social sciences, especially in international relations, expect full classes and strong attendance.

"I think we had an advantage from the start since we have so many students already studying international relations. Since Sept. 11 interest has been extremely high and we expect it to continue," said JoAnn Aviel, chair of international relations at S.F. State. "I think students realize that they are in the unique position of watching history unfold."

As a result of the events, nearly all faculty in the social sciences --- history, political science, criminal justice --- devoted portions of class to discussion of the unfolding events. "There was a definite need to explore these events in a classroom setting. I think it resulted in a very special educational experience for us all," said Chris Jackson, assistant professor of history whose class on recent European history discussed the implications for the continent.

Probably the biggest impact to the curriculum for spring post-Sept. 11 at S.F. State will be the introduction of a new course on terrorism and covert political warfare, a class cross-listed with the departments of international relations and criminal justice.

"The course will look at the origins of terrorism, how it manifests itself as a tool of modern foreign policy and ways we as a society can combat it," said Ambassador David Fischer, S.F. State's Diplomat-in-Residence, who will teach the course. "We also will look at the debate between the need to reduce the threat of terrorism and the need to preserve our way of life; and questions of civil liberty issues and the freedom of travel."

The class will be especially important to criminal justice students, Fischer said, because they will have an opportunity to study the interconnectiveness of money laundering, international crime and modern terrorism networks.

The class is a follow-up to Fischer's popular course on intelligence gathering and intelligence agencies. Fischer, who also teaches a course on American foreign policy, spent 30 years in the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department serving in a number of Europeans posts in Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. He has been acting American Ambassador of Tanzania and Ambassador to the Seychelles, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. The former president of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Fischer has been with S.F. State since 1998.

Other post-Sept. 11 events will take place later in the year at S.F. State, which begins spring classes on Jan. 28. For example, the international relations department will host the annual gathering of the Model Arab League in April. The gathering will feature dozens of college students who will assume roles as representatives of Arab nations in a mock United Nations. During the summer, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences working along with the College of Education plans workshops for Bay Area schoolteachers on how to teach lessons about the events of Sept. 11.

And the International Relations Journal at S.F. State will soon publish an edition devoted to post-Sept. 11 topics: terrorism, Osama bin Laden, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

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Contact information: JoAnn Aviel, chair of the international relations, can be reached at (415) 338-1448 (w); (650) 573-0410 (h); or; and David Fischer, S.F. State's Diplomat-in-Residence, can be reached at (415) 405-0325 (w) or 661-8543 (h); or

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