The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative

Fostering Creative Collaboration

Located in Dallas, Texas, a hub of American businesses and entrepreneurial spirit, we provide customized education and training opportunities to help government leaders better understand how business operates and to help business leaders better understand how government works. 

We facilitate dialogue between business and government leaders to build trust and relationships, and we host events, conferences, and deep dives that convene stakeholders across the private sector, government, and academia to tackle complex challenges. 
  • Bulletin #08

    Balancing Act: The Role of Commercial Diplomacy in Harmonizing Private and Public Objectives

    August 15, 2023

    Ilustration for CDI Bulleting 08

    As the integration of the global economy slows, and governments flirt with varying aspects of industrial policy, understanding the mechanics of decision-making within business and government becomes increasingly crucial. The United States and China offer clearly contrasting approaches to their pursuits of national power while balancing private and public sector objectives and constraints. By briefly exploring these contrasting models, we illuminate the inherent complexity in harmonizing these objectives, and the role of a key strategic tool that can help us strike this balance—commercial diplomacy. 

    The U.S. models of governance and market economy create what we can describe as a dual-objective system, where both private businesses and the public sector operate on separate constrained optimization tracks. Each pursues its objectives, faces its constraints, and utilizes its decision variables in distinct ways. 

    For businesses, the primary objective is often profitability. This goal is pursued within a set of constraints such as technological abilities, regulatory compliance, market competition, and shareholder expectations. To optimize within these bounds, businesses utilize decision variables, strategic options like production decisions (related to quantity and production technique), location decisions, pricing strategies, or investment decisions to enhance their bottom lines. 

    Parallel to this concept, the government aims to achieve broader societal objectives such as national security, prosperity, international order, or promoting values or influence globally. Government constraints include budgetary limitations, geopolitical realities, and expectations of the public. Decision variables range from diplomatic, military, economic, and information measures. 

    While the dual-objective system of the United States often fuels a dynamic interplay between the public and private sectors, it can also create friction. There are instances where this divergence, instead of spurring growth, can put the U.S. economy and national power at risk.   For instance, Lockheed Martin's decision to sell rockets to a foreign entity, for example, might optimize its profitability objective, but if the transaction compromised U.S. national security—a paramount government objective—then the discord between private and public goals becomes painfully clear. 

    Photo of USA flag alongside China flag

    In stark contrast, China operates what we might term a single-objective model. Here, the objectives of the public and private sectors are essentially the same and thus create a combined public-private value. This model uses shared decision variables, recognizes mutual constraints, and follows a unified optimization strategy. The approach reduces potential friction between government and business and aligns decisions towards the common goal of national power. However, this approach often comes at the expense of the entrepreneurial spirit. The dominance of national interest often directs innovation efforts within firms towards the greater good of the country, potentially sidelining individual company growth and progress. Each of these models, while distinct in their approach, carries unique advantages and challenges. The American model nurtures innovation and competition through the independent optimization of each entity but may lead to misalignments between business practices and public policies. Conversely, China's model presents a unified front but may dampen the entrepreneurial spirit due to its singular, top-down objective. 

    Enter commercial diplomacy.
    Commercial diplomacy facilitates dialogue between the public and private sectors, aiding each in understanding the objectives, constraints, and decision-making levers of the other. It can help realign business practices with public policies – if properly incentivized – and ensure that mutual respect is maintained for each entity's goals and limitations. 

    Using our Lockheed Martin example, commercial diplomacy could play a pivotal role in balancing the firm's profit goals with the U.S. government's national security objectives. The process could involve negotiating export restrictions or identifying alternative markets that do not pose a threat to national security concerns, ensuring a balanced outcome that respects the constraints and objectives of both parties. 

    In a world where the spheres of the private and public sectors often overlap and decisions in one sphere echo strongly in the other, the important role of commercial diplomacy cannot be overstated. It stands as a vital bridge between business interests and governmental objectives that together drive a nation's progress. It's an approach that respects the complexity of multi-criteria optimization and helps to navigate it, with the goal of enhancing government-business synergy while preserving the spirit of independent optimization—fostering innovation, competition, and individual enterprise. 

  • Bulletin #07

    Remaining Agile in Our Uncertain World Requires Creative Collaboration

    July 25, 2023

    Jason and panel at Sun and Star Symposium in Japan 2023

    The Symposium on “U.S.-Japan Relations in the Post-Pandemic Uncertain World” was jointly organized by the SMU Tower Center Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia and Keio University. 

    In early June 2023, our CDI@Cox Executive Director, Jason Galui, traveled to Tokyo to participate in a symposium on “U.S.-Japan Relations in the Post-Pandemic Uncertain World.” The symposium was jointly organized by the SMU Tower Center Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia and Keio University.  The symposium focused on exploring the shifting trends in Asia-Pacific international relations amid the current tumultuous time.  Below is a summary of Jason’s remarks from his panel discussion as they related to Commercial Diplomacy and “creative collaboration.” 

    The current global landscape is marked by unparalleled uncertainty, surpassing even the complex and potentially volatile Cold War era. During that time, countries largely aligned with one side or maintained a clear nonaligned position.  Even the post-Cold War era, though more uncertain than the Cold War, was still less unpredictable than our present time, including the decade-and-a-half after the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

    Perhaps the most significant change to the international and national security environment is the combination of the increased number of influential players on the world stage and the speed at which information travels our planet. This combination has led to heightened uncertainty. Navigating such a fast-paced and unpredictable environment demands the ability to assess, anticipate, and swiftly adapt to changing circumstances. 

    Using the “critical juncture model” helps us assess the current situation.  This model, first encountered in Kent Calder and Min Ye’s The Making of Northeast Asia, defines a “critical juncture” as an historical decision point at which there are clear alternative paths to the future. Calder and Ye note three features of such a decision point:  1) a crisis calling into serious question the legitimacy of the current arrangement; 2) the crisis breeds a stimulus for change while generating a need for collective action to address a common problem; and 3) time pressure which adds to the challenge of the situation.  When thinking about the world’s future direction – the clear alternative paths to the future – some have assessed it as one toward free, democratic societies and another path toward authoritarian regimes. 

    Jason speaking to room of attendees

    In a world marked by uncertainty and rapid change, forums like this symposium provide invaluable insights into the strategies and collaborations essential for maintaining stability, fostering economic growth, and preserving shared values.   

    In anticipation of future challenges, Japan undertook a comprehensive review of its own security posture and unveiled its new National Security Strategy in late 2022. The text states that “this strategy will dramatically transform Japan’s national security policy after the end of WWII from the aspect of its execution.”  Together with the National Defense Strategy and the Defense Buildup Program, these new strategic documents reveal a deliberate and thoughtful reassessment and approach to anticipating the future security operational environment. 

    Moreover, Japan’s G-7 presidency through the Hiroshima Leaders’ Communique declared that the member states are: “more united than ever in our determination to meet the global challenges of this moment and set the course for a better future,” which clearly articulates a preferred path toward free, democratic societies. 

    To increase the likelihood of following that preferred path, the G-7 Communique emphasized the importance of agility by stating that member states would take concrete steps to “coordinate approach to economic resilience and economic security based on diversifying and deepening partnerships and de-risking, not de-coupling.”  Additionally, member states committed to working together and with others to “foster a strong and resilient global economic recovery, maintain financial stability, and promote jobs and sustainable growth.” 

    To achieve such objectives, the G-7 member states “welcome and further encourage efforts made by the private sector, universities, and think tanks, which contribute to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.”  For the United States and its allies and partners to succeed in the contemporary “battlefields,” be they kinetic or not, will require unprecedented collaboration between our private sectors, public sectors, academia, and nonprofit organizations. And it may require restructuring our approaches to foster such collaboration.    

    Hence, the Commercial Diplomacy Initiative @ SMU Cox.  Our mission is to enable a perpetual economic advantage for the United States and its allies and partners while preserving entrepreneurial principles and values.  We aim to foster creative collaboration between government, the private sector, and academia.  Creative Collaboration consists of unstructured, decentralized, and relatively informal communication to solve common problems. Agility, the ability to swiftly adapt, relies on innovation, which, in turn, requires maintaining creativity.  To be innovative we must maintain our creativity.  By pursuing creative collaboration together, we take the essential collective action needed at this critical juncture, enhancing the likelihood of preserving the free and open societies we all value so much. 

    Jason Galui presenting on panel

    Jason shared his remarks on the shifting trends in Asia-Pacific international relations and the crucial role Commercial Diplomacy plays in contemporary "battlefields".   

  • Bulletin #06

    Enhancing the American Technological Edge: The United States on the Offense

    May 29, 2023

    To those familiar with the work of The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative @ SMU Cox (CDI@Cox), it is not surprising to hear that the entrepreneur-led way of life is under assault by distinct “visible hands” intentionally intervening into various sectors of the global economy. This economic competition between the United States and China can no longer be ignored. It is more than just a duel between two global superpowers; it represents a struggle between two fundamentally different approaches to economics, governance, and technological advancement. This clash was the focal point of the recent May 18 luncheon hosted by the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations (DCFR). 

    The dynamic trio of speakers who dissected the intricacies of this emerging economic war included Jason Galui, Executive Director at the Commercial Diplomacy Initiative @ SMU Cox (CDI@Cox); Laura Thomas, Chief of Staff and Strategic Initiatives at Infleqtion; and Catherine Hamilton, Founder and CEO of Demand Signal. They not only represented their respective sectors but also demonstrated the power of collaborative synergy between the private sector, government, and academia, a principle for which CDI@Cox staunchly advocates. 

    Such economic competition between a market system and a state-led system directly threatens the entrepreneurial spirit that CDI@Cox champions. The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) strategic interventions across diverse sectors of the global economy jeopardize the entrepreneurial fabric that has propelled American innovation. Our businesses and entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this complex economic battleground. 

    A key message from the panel is that America must not play the Chinese version of the game and mirror CPC tactics but rather it must sharpen its unique strengths, nurture its entrepreneurial spirit, and invest in the technologies that will shape the future. The speakers emphasized, however, that the substantial difference in time horizons between the American and Chinese governments can make such approaches very challenging. While the American system functions on a variety of electoral cycles, the CPC operates on a different timeline, one unencumbered by domestic political rivalry. Such asymmetry creates a challenge for consistency in U.S. strategies, and the CPC has exploited this vulnerability with unnerving precision. Moreover, the U.S. Government's systems and processes tend to lag behind the rapid pace of technological advancement. The competition is not only about technology or economics but is a cocktail of both. The CPC's overarching goal is not only to economically dominate the United States but to forge a world shaped by Chinese socialist ideals by 2050, and they are closing the gap at an alarming rate. This urgent reality calls for a substantial adjustment in our approach. 

    Recognizing that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, especially in the entrepreneur-led American system, the speakers offered a few concrete steps. The importance of understanding our adversaries, their strategies, and their motivations cannot be overstated. This understanding is not limited to geopolitical professionals but should be extended to students, advocating studying abroad in countries vastly different from the United States. Encouraging service among the population and elevating awareness about the need to master pivotal future technologies like quantum computing were also tabled as crucial starting points. 

    While the CPC actively distorts the “fair competitive” environment globally, Adam Smith’s 1776 observation that the pursuit of self-interest combined with fair competition will yield relatively efficient outcomes rings true to this day. Companies like Infleqtion and Demand Signal embody Smith’s observation and are prime examples of the kind of proactive adaptation that these times call for. Infleqtion's resolve to share their quantum technology to advance science and Demand Signal's initiative to build a public-private marketplace for more efficient government contract bidding reflect the very essence of Adam Smith's 1776 observation. They embody the spirit of competition balanced with self-interest, which in the face of the CPC's distortion of the fair competitive environment, seems more pertinent than ever. 

    This unfolding economic war is a test of our ability to adapt, innovate, and collaborate. The entrepreneurial spirit that has been the bedrock of American innovation is not merely a philosophy but a tool of survival in this intensifying competition. As we keep pace with the exponential growth in technology and understand our adversaries better, we can ensure that the United States and its allies and partners maintain a perpetual economic advantage. We are not in a sprint but are in a marathon, and as we take the next steps, the path will become clearer, driven forward by an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit that is quintessentially American, and steered by our steadfast Western values and principles. 

    Speaker portraits -Catherine Hamilton - Jason Galui - Laura Thomas 

    From left to right: Catherine Hamilton, Founder and CEO of  Demand Signal; Jason Galui, Executive Director at the Commercial Diplomacy Initiative @ SMU Cox; Laura Thomas, Chief of Staff and Strategic Initiatives at Infleqtion.

  • Bulletin #05

    From Monoliths to Nuance: How Recognizing Heterogeneity Can Improve Collaboration in the Public-Private Sphere

    May 25, 2023

    Mr. Cox and Mr. Tower, representing the realms of business and government respectively, sat down in one of their favorite spots – Off the Record – their palates anticipating a scrumptious meal. The purpose of the meeting was to bring consider issues that have often marred the synergies between American enterprises and the United States Government (USG). 

    As they savored their appetizers and sipped fine wine, the discourse veered towards the constant hurdles impeding their efforts to collaborate productively. Mr. Cox, with an air of perplexity, initiated, "We constantly feel misunderstood by the government. Recently, I talked with a horde of bureaucrats who seemed clueless about our specific concerns. Being in the steel industry, we don't fret over a local roadblock in the same vein as the coffee shop at the corner does. Our conversations revolve around tariffs and environmental regulations. But all we get is a monolithic view, lumping all businesses together. It's high time they realized businesses are as diverse as a tropical rainforest." 

    Caught off guard, Mr. Tower retaliated, "Are you insinuating the entire government is ignorant? Are you addressing your local council, the state governor, or a federal department? It's frustrating when businesses generalize 'the government' as if we operate under one umbrella. You need to acknowledge that government, too, is a complex mechanism with varied departments, agencies, and goals. And sometimes there are competing goals." 

    As the discussion stagnated, Mr. Collab, a seasoned and relaxed professional in commercial diplomacy, entered ready to dissect the deadlock. After absorbing the grievances shared by Mr. Cox and Mr. Tower, he weighed in, "Gentlemen, it seems you are mirroring each other's frustrations. You're irked that the other fails to grasp your distinctiveness, all the while failing to see the same in them. This failure to appreciate the other's heterogeneity is where the challenge lies." 

    Taken aback, both Mr. Cox and Mr. Tower silently processed this new insight. Mr. Collab expanded, "When I hear the government lament about 'the private sector,' I usually probe which part they're addressing. Which industry? Which business scale? Similarly, when businesses grumble about 'the government,' I urge them to specify. Are they referring to the federal, state, or local government? Is it an issue with the executive or the legislative branch?" 

    He let his words marinate before adding, "My point is, both the private sector and the government are as varied as a field of wildflowers. Misunderstandings and misalignments will continue to crop up until we recognize this diversity." 

    The silence around the table lingered as Mr. Cox and Mr. Tower mulled over Mr. Collab's words. Finally, Mr. Cox broke the silence, "We indeed need to strive for better comprehension of each other, recognizing the variety in our respective landscapes." 

    Mr. Tower concurred, "We need to explore and comprehend the intricate workings of our worlds to foster innovation that will continue to position the United States at the forefront of economic growth, all while upholding American principles and values." 

    The luncheon ended on a hopeful note. Mr. Cox, Mr. Tower, and Mr. Collab were optimistic about the road ahead. They realized that acknowledging the heterogeneity of the other was a strong first step toward a more harmonious relationship. Bolstered by this newfound understanding, they were convinced of a future laden with successful creative collaborations. 

    Illustration of Mr Cox Mr Tower and Mr Collab 

  • Bulletin #04

    Corporate Espionage: Navigating the Threat Landscape of Corporate Espionage and State-Sponsored IP Theft

    April 21, 2023

    Corporate espionage and state-sponsored intellectual property (IP) theft pose significant threats to American firms and their allies. While government agencies acknowledge and invest heavily in protecting themselves from such attacks, corporations often underestimate the potential devastation that could result from these thefts. This bulletin aims to raise awareness of the problem, highlight the various attack vectors, and consider possible solutions to safeguard valuable corporate assets. 

    The substantial incentives for corporate IP theft stem from the potential for enormous financial gains coupled with the relatively low risk of facing severe consequences. In contrast, stealing from governments typically yields smaller rewards and carries greater risk of being caught. Given the vast number of potential targets in the corporate sector, it is no wonder why foreign actors find IP theft from corporations an attractive endeavor.  

       Information Theft from Government  Information Theft from Corporations 
    Potential for financial gain Low High
     Consequences if caught  High Low
     Likelihood to be caught High Low
     Investment into defense High Low
     Number of targets Few Many

    To defend against corporate espionage and IP theft, firms must first recognize and understand the various attack vectors. The 2430 Group, a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit institution, identifies five main types of threats: 

    1. "Consensual-ish" Transfers: Companies knowingly or unwittingly hand over IP. 
    2. Predatory Finance: Foreign actors invest in firms and gain access to company secrets through mandatory disclosure. 
    3. Insider Threats: Employees willingly or under duress hand over proprietary information to foreign employers. 
    4. Supply Chain Infiltration: Foreign actors access IP by entering the company supply chain and reverse engineering company IP.
    5. Cyber Intrusions: Foreign actors gain direct access to proprietary data and information via (socially engineered) cyber intrusions. 

    Most firms do not invest enough in protecting against these threats because of resource constraints and short-term priorities. However, they must recognize the long-term damage that may result from IP theft, such as competitors releasing comparable products with significantly less investment in research and development. To address these risks, companies must evaluate their vulnerabilities, implement protective measures, and invest in ongoing threat monitoring. 

    The 2430 Group assists in bridging the gap between the private sector and the U.S. government, helping companies identify and address their unique threat landscape. By raising awareness and providing guidance on mitigating the risks associated with each vector of attack, the 2430 Group plays a crucial role in strengthening corporate defenses against espionage and IP theft. 

    Corporate espionage - Speakers from 2430 address SMU Cox students on how to better protect themselves

    Speakers from the 2430 Group answer questions from SMU students on how they can better protect themselves and their future employers against Intellectual Property theft and foreign influence. 

    On March 31, 2023, The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative hosted the 2340 Group for a discussion with local business leaders on how they can better protect themselves. A crucial insight from the discussion indicated that rather than relying on increased regulation, which might be an improbable and unattractive solution, an effective strategy could be to let the market itself adjust the financing costs according to a firm's ability to protect itself against threats. As financing becomes more costly for companies with inadequate protection measures, they would be naturally incentivized to invest in robust defenses. This market-driven mechanism highlights the need for heightened awareness among investors about the long-term risks associated with corporate espionage and underscores the importance of continuous education on intellectual property protection for firms. In theory, this approach could lead to the desired outcome of better self-protection by companies. 

    Glenn Chafetz, Director 2430 Group

    Glenn Chafetz, Ph.D, Director of 2430 Group, speaks to students.

    Dr. Chafetz summarized the talk by stating: “Defending against foreign, state assisted commercial espionage is not a task the United State Government is equipped or even authorized to address. Certainly, government can do more, but success in protecting our IP requires cooperation and collaboration among the private sector, our universities, other research institutions, government, and our allies and partners.”

  • Bulletin #03

    Creatively Collaborating within the U.S.-Japan Relationship

    February 17, 2023

    Panel at the Japan Currents Symposium - Feb 2023

    Panel at the 2023 Japan Currents Symposium, from left to right: Dr. Hiroki Takeuchi (SMU Professor of Political Science and Director of the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia), Ms. Jessica Gordon (Director, U.S. Commercial Service Dallas-Fort Worth, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce), Mr. Hiroyuki Watanabe (Director, Texas Japan Office), Mr. Jason Galui, SMU Professor of Practice and Executive Director of The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative. (Picture by Robin Mallon) 

    “The most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none,” is how Ambassador Mike Mansfield once described the U.S.-Japan relationship.  Ambassador Mansfield, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1977-1988, led with this phrase when he described the combination of economic and security cooperation between the two countries.  During his tenure, there was tremendous friction in the relationship, especially across trade, finance, and military issues.  Yet, Ambassador Mansfield rightly recognized the critical importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.   

    Today, our world finds itself at a critical juncture.  We are at a key decision point in history, from which there are clear alternative paths to the global future.  One path would lead us to some continuation of the international economic order that has delivered unprecedented prosperity and relative peace to much of the world for almost eight decades.  The alternative path, dominated by authoritarian rule and central planning, would lead us to an international economic order where innovation would slow, and standards of living could substantially decline.  The path down which the world chooses to march depends significantly on the ability of like-minded nations to commit to a series of collective actions across the diplomatic, economic, information, and military fronts.      

    Panel at the Japan Currents Symposium2 - Feb 2023 

    Panel at the 2023 Japan Currents Symposium, from left to right: Ms. Jessica Gordon (Director, U.S. Commercial Service Dallas-Fort Worth, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce), Mr. Hiroyuki Watanabe (Director, Texas Japan Office), Mr. Jason Galui, SMU Professor of Practice and Executive Director of The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative. (Picture by Robin Mallon) 

    A clear commitment from leaders is essential to overcome any challenge requiring collective action.  In July 2022, the U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce along with their counterparts from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry affirmed their shared resolve to uphold a rules-based international economic order. They emphasized the need to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the U.S. and Japanese economies. In January 2023, President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida showcased the U.S.-Japan relationship in Washington, D.C., and highlighted the Alliance’s historic evolution. Many experts and long-time practitioners of U.S.-Japan relations assert that the U.S.-Japan relationship is at its strongest ever. Such formal collaboration helps align collective and individual incentives, thus motivating cooperative efforts.  

    Creative collaboration ignites the entrepreneurial spirit and was on clear display at the 2023 Japan Currents Symposium, hosted by the Japan America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth. Jason Galui, Executive Director of The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative, served on a panel during the symposium, that focused on security and economic affairs in U.S.-Japan relations.  Alongside Mr. Hiroyuki Watanabe (Director of the Texas Japan Office) and Ms. Jessica Gordon (Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Dallas Office), Jason championed the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the United States and the prospects for Japanese firms in North Texas. The symposium was creative collaboration in action as local business, government, and academic leaders engaged in several informal conversations about doing more work together, which will greatly contribute to strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance, the most important bilateral relationship, bar none.   

    Creative collaboration in action during a dinner between private sector and local government leaders

    Jason Galui, Executive Director of The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative, engages in creative collaboration with private sector and local government leaders at a dinner hosted by the City of Plano and the Japan America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth 

  • Bulletin #02

    Creative Collaboration: The Key to a Perpetual Economic Advantage for the United States

    March 22, 2023

    At the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative, we define creative collaboration as the unstructured, decentralized, and relatively informal communication necessary for solving common problems. By encouraging this type of collaboration between the private sector, government, and academia, we can tap into the ingenuity that is a core characteristic of American entrepreneurship.  

    Creativity produces novel ideas. Collaborating creatively – as the most effective teams do – connects and builds on others’ ideas and brokers knowledge across communities and teammates. While creativity is important, innovation is necessary for success in the 21st and 22nd centuries. Creative collaboration fosters innovation.    

    Darcy Anderson - Vice chairman - Hillwood Management 

    Darcy Anderson, Vice Chairman of Hillwood Management, addresses participants of the first Five Days in Dallas (December 2022).  

    Innovation is the production of novel and useful ideas. Innovation converts new ideas into products and services. The international economic order that has shaped our world is a direct result of American entrepreneurial leadership. We must stay focused on what we, the United States and our allies, do best, even as rival models challenge our economic order.   

    Today, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is exerting more and more control over its economy, but it's well known that centralized economic planning doesn't work. Instead, the CPC resorts to stealing intellectual property and technology from the United States and its allies and partners to achieve its social and economic goals. As we compete with the CPC, it's essential to remember what we do best: rely on innovation and the relatively free-market mechanism to tackle the tomorrow’s challenges. 

    Aaron Sarfati - Executive Advisor to Chief Legal Administrative Officer -  Jacobs

    Aaron Sarfati,  Executive Advisor to Chief Legal & Administrative Officer at Jacobs, addresses participants of the first Five Days in Dallas (December 2022).

    But it's not just about unleashing that entrepreneurial spirit – it's also about preserving American principles and values. There is a common belief that the American private sector and United States Government are often at odds when it comes to pursuing their respective goals of increased profits and advancing national interests. However, through creative collaboration both sides will come to understand their goals are not at odds, but rather complementary. 

    Jason McCann, Cofounder and CEO, Vari

    Jason McCann, co-founder and CEO of Vari, addresses participants of the first Five Days in Dallas (December 2022).

    To win the 21st twenty-first century and sufficiently prepare for the next, the United States and its allies and partners must seek unprecedented collaboration between the private sector, government, and academia. The SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative is deeply committed to fostering such collaboration, and we want you to join us in this important mission. 

  • Bulletin #01

    The Mission and Purpose of SMU Cox's Commercial Diplomacy Initiative

    February 17, 2023

    “A perpetual economic advantage for the United States…” is critical to continuing the positive trends of prosperity and relative international peace over the past 75 years.  The U.S.-led international economic order enabled unprecedented rises in standards of living for billions of people.  Over the past decade-plus, a competing version of a political economy structure has emerged driven in large part by government intervention in economic affairs to advance a competing way of life. 

    A perpetual U.S. economic advantage rests on the competitiveness of American firms.  The emergence of state-led and state-backed activities across key sectors of the global economy threatens such competitiveness.  The United States and its allies and partners have responded in ways that, while intended to promote fair competition in the economy, are tending toward more government intervention in the economy, which could jeopardize the vitality of a U.S. economic advantage. 

    Supporters of Commercial Diplomacy Initiative Dean Myers Amb Miller Amb Fisher Asso Dean Goodwin 

    From left to right: Dean Matthew B. Myers; Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr.; Ambassador Richard Fisher, Associate Dean Shane Goodwin; and Executive Director of the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative Jason Galui.

    “…while preserving American principles and values.”  The traditional American approach enlists the private sector as the engine of the U.S. economy while United States Government officials are the on the front line in advancing U.S. national interests.  The great strength of the United States – its economic power – is rooted in the “encouragement of the entrepreneur.”  So, the best way to maintain a perpetual economic advantage is to follow that entrepreneurial spirit towards “creative collaboration” between the private sector, government, and academia. 

    “Creative Collaboration”
    is an approach that involves unstructured, decentralized, and relatively informal communication in order to solve common problems. 

    By fostering creative collaboration, the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative leverages the ingenuity of the American entrepreneurial spirit, and we empower American firms and the United States Government to tackle any challenge that lies ahead

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