Global Focus

GLOBAL FOCUS is a new series of Eisenhower Institute programs designed to help students gain insight and analyze American foreign policy, international relations, emerging economies and regional conflict, cooperation and competition around the world.

globe with map of china highlighted on the surface

Competing With China

The theme of our inaugural program in Fall 2023 is “Competing With China.” Participants in this program begin with a deep dive into the political, economic and social history of China, including a close look at the historical roots of China’s government and decision-making as it has evolved as a nation. We will study the formative period between the two nations, and key decisions in Chinese history, focusing on the Taiwan Relations Act through the 1989 protests and massacre in Tiananmen Square. Students will examine rapid economic development and social change, and reforms under regimes from Deng Xioping in the late 1970s to the current President of the PRC, Xi Jinping.

Through interactive small-group discussions and exercises with experts, the program sheds light on China’s rise as a global economic power, and the impact of mass urbanization that drives decision-making about its future today. Students will explore what has been called the “lost decade” of social reforms during the Hu-Wen era, and analyze today’s concerns about China’s social policies and how to deal with its massive, aging population.

Our approach leads to a current-day examination of the rise to power of Xi Jinping through the Chinese Communist Party, how he changed the system, and his ambitions to challenge the U.S. as the world’s pre-eminent economic power. This leads to critical questions that participants will address: is America prepared to compete with China? How does our economic interdependence impact this competition over the next decade?

The program ends with a dynamic, interactive learning activity: students will provide an analysis for a U.S. tech client doing business in China.

This program is led by Eisenhower Institute non-resident expert Kevin Nealer, a principal of The Scowcroft Group. Mr. Nealer provides strategic risk advisory services to clients, specializing in financial services and trade policy with emerging markets, with a focus on China. A former diplomat and Congressional trade policy advisor, he served on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Students accepted into this program must be available for all the following sessions, including the full-day Friday final session in Washington, D.C. 

Friday, September 15, 4pm-6pm

Friday, October 6, 4pm-6pm

Friday, October 20, 4pm-6pm

Monday, October 30, 4pm-6pm

Friday, November 3, 7am-8pm in Washington, D.C. (final project - includes travel time)