The Woodlands’ residents and various students got the opportunity to indulge in another World Affairs Council event, this one focusing on the “myths of globalization.” This event, featuring Shannon K. O’Neil, included amazing insight into regionalism and foreign relations.
O’Neil is an expert on Latin America, foreign relations, global trade, and supply chains. Shannon O’Neil has an extensive and impressive education which includes two degrees from Yale university in international relations and Latin American studies and a PhD in Government from Harvard University. Along with her qualifications and various degrees that make her an expert in Latin America, Dr. O’Neil has resided in Mexico and Argentina.
Following brief remarks by Sandiia Bayot, Mr. Seitz (from Cypress Creek’s Speech Team) introduced Dr. O’Neil. Moderating the event was Mr. Ray Cunningham, one of the WAC staff and a good friend to the LEAP Ambassadors. The two discuss how globalization can be confused with internationalization and development, although the terms have different implications and meanings.
Dr. O’Neil began with a personal anecdote about her hometown, Akron, Ohio, and how a city once booming internationally in the tire industry became desolate due to a lack of regional support. She compares this story to modern day trade and how weak ties with neighboring countries puts a nation at a disadvantage in world markets.
She took us on a trip back in history by discussing post-war development and how it impacted production and trade in different regions today. Focusing on three specific regions, Asia, Europe, and North America, she discussed their different economies, trade agreements, and regional dependency.
Dr. Shannon O’Neil spent a lot of time discussing new initiatives that are currently being worked on in the United States. She noted how the United States is actively developing and searching for ways to become less dependent on overseas production, especially in the area of semiconductors. She also discussed agreements like NAFTA and the USMCA, addressing the benefits and consequences the accords bring to our economy, dependency, and local trade.
Something I learned from the discussion is that Laredo, Texas is the second largest (land) port in the United States. I had not anticipated an inland port to be one of the most heavily trafficked in the nation.
The conversation then moved on to a Q&A where a lot of interesting topics were brought up by the audience such as sanctions and how they can be a weapon in international conflicts as well as the logistics of manufacturing companies to Latin America.
As two students studying Criminal Justice, economics and globalization are not subjects at the forefront of our education. However, Dr. O’Neil made such an intricate and nuanced topic super attainable and inspired us to learn more about the subjects. We had the pleasure to speak to Dr. O’Neil after the event, get our books signed, and learn more about her and some of her opinions on development in Texas.
Before and after the event we also had the chance to appreciate beautiful art pieces from the Glade Art Gallery. We had the chance to indulge in the art and find some pieces that resonated with us. Although extremely hard to choose “Lost in my Mind series 4” by Rebekah Molander was one of my favorites.
Whether it’s art, the experts, or the friendly staff at World Affairs Council, we are always grateful to attend one of their events.