The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative

Bringing Dialogue Through Events and Outreach

Our conferences and events provide a forum for leaders in the private sector, government, and academia to creatively collaborate across a wide variety of challenges. By facilitating relatively informal engagement between business and government leaders, we help to build relationships and establish a foundation for trust and future collaboration. 

Each program is designed to advance enduring U.S. national interests and to help American companies compete more effectively on a global scale.  
  • 2430 Group Visit

    Expert Insight Series: The Threat of Corporate Espionage

    March 31, 2023

    On March 31st, we hosted the 2430 Group for a discussion on how American companies can better protect themselves against IP theft and covert influence operations. Both the open-door student event and closed-door corporate event produced lively discussions, drawing attention to different vectors of attack – “Consensual-ish” Transfers, Predatory Finance, Insider Threats, Supply Chain Infiltration, and Cyber Intrusions – and the lack of protections implemented by American firms. We will dive deeper into the lessons learned in a future bulletin, so stay tuned. This event was part of our CDI Expert Insight Series.  

    Students listening to Corporate Espionage session - Commercial Diplomacy Initiative - SMU Cox 

    Students from differing SMU schools attended the event to learn more about how they can better protect themselves and their future firms against foreign interference. 

  • NDU Visit

    Panel on the Role of Corporate Finance

    March 29, 2023

    On March 29th, we hosted students from Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University to consider the role of business and corporate finance in national security. Panelists John Stephens (retired CFO, AT&T), Phil Raveling (retired CIA), and Shane Goodwin, PhD (Associate Dean, SMU Cox) engaged with the audience on topics ranging from the future of business relations with China to how the United States Government can better help American firms compete internationally. We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. William Jannace and Colonel Eric Murphy for bringing their group to The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative @ SMU Cox. 

    NDU students listening in to panel discussion - Commercial Diplomacy Initiative - SMU Cox

    Students of the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource strategy are highly qualified military officers and selected civilians who are being prepared for senior leadership positions.  

    Panel Discussion - The Commercial Diplomacy Initiative at SMU Cox - NDU Visit

    Panelists from left to right: Phil Raveling (retired CIA), John Stephens (retired CFO, AT&T), Shane Goodwin, PhD (Associate Dean of SMU Cox), Nils Van den Steen, PhD (panel moderator).

    Visiting students - panelists - instructors - on SMU Cox campus - Commercial Diplomacy Initiative

    Group picture of the visiting class, their instructors, and the panelists.

  • Five Days in Dallas

    U.S. Government Officials and Business Leaders Meet in Dallas to Advance Commercial Diplomacy

    December 5-9, 2022 | In Collaboration with U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation

    In December 2022, the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation convened U.S. government (USG) officials and business leaders to jump-start creative collaboration between the American private sector and government. During this weeklong conference, USG officials engaged with panelists and speakers across a variety of topics related to American business initiatives and visited four companies to better understand how American companies “do business.” 


    Mr. Dale Tasharski, Deputy Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, describes the important roles of the Commercial Service at the first ever “Five Days in Dallas.”

    A common thread that ran through the many panels, discussions, and conversations is that while U.S. firms and the United States Government often have similar objectives, they tend to work independently toward achieving them. Throughout the conference, a number of key problem areas were identified that contribute to this disconnect including the existence of information asymmetry, a mismatch of time horizons, a lack of inter-organizational and inter-organizational continuity, and clashing cultures and operating structures.  

    More importantly, the conversations gave rise to a set of recommendations for how U.S. firms and U.S. departments and agencies can start working on resolving these issues. 


    READ THE FULL REPORT    Read more @ CoxToday

  • Rep. McCaul Visit

    Rep. Michael McCaul Visits SMU Cox – “Strengthening Commercial Diplomacy”  

    April 19, 2022 | In Collaboration with U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation

    On April 19, 2022, U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul paid a special trip to SMU Cox to deliver important remarks about the importance of strengthening the ability of the United States to conduct commercial diplomacy.  As the sponsor of H.R. 1704, “Championing American Business through Diplomacy Act of 2019,” Representative McCaul has been the leading voice in the Congress about the need for U.S. diplomatic missions to make promotion of U.S. economic and commercial interests a principal duty.  

    Rep Michael McCaul and Ambassador David C Miller Jr discuss commercial diplomacy

    Representative McCaul addressed a wide audience at SMU, including SMU leadership, students, faculty, staff, and Dallas community leaders, and encouraged SMU Cox to become the national home for strengthening U.S. commercial diplomacy. 

    Read More @ Dallas Morning News

  • Roundtable II

    Roundtable on Commercial Diplomacy II - "The Government Perspective"

    February 17, 2022 | In Collaboration with U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation

    Roundtable II focused on the perspectives from several U.S. government departments and agencies.  For the first 90 minutes, government colleagues presented the ways they support and promote American businesses overseas, and highlighted the activities that American businesses may not realize the government pursues on their behalf. 

    The remainder of the Roundtable witnessed open discussion reacting to the government perspectives.  Business leaders shared their experiences working with U.S. government departments and agencies overseas. 

    Roundtable II provided deeper understanding of the shortfalls and successes of U.S. government leaders and bureaucrats in advancing U.S. economic and commercial interests.  Combined with the input from Roundtable I, the discussions within Roundtable II enabled the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative team to develop a range of activities and experiences that led to the first “Five Days in Dallas to Advance Commercial Diplomacy.” 

  • Roundtable I

    Roundtable on Commercial Diplomacy I - "The Business Perspective"

    September 24, 2021 | In Collaboration with U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation

    The question that the Roundtable on Commercial Diplomacy aimed to tackle was:  “How should the United States compete globally while preserving American principles and values?”   

    To begin answering that question, the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative team convened prominent Dallas-Forth Worth-based business leaders to better understand the current state of “commercial-government” relationships.  We wanted to know from the business leaders how the United States Government has helped or hindered their international business operations.  We also asked the business leaders to identify the most challenging aspects of competing globally.    

    Roundtable I provided key perspectives of the entrepreneurial American private sector on some of the big issues of international economic competition.  Starting with those perspectives and experiences, the SMU Cox Commercial Diplomacy Initiative team was then able to chart a path for developing some ways and means to improving the understanding of commercial diplomacy through the competing and complementary lenses of the private sector and government. 

  • Get in Touch

    Want to support the initiative? Want to collaborate, or just share ideas over a cup of coffee?

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