The Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs recently hosted an honorary lunch for the Consular Corps of Miami in recognition of the group’s integral role in advancing diplomacy in the South Florida region.
Dean John F. Stack Jr. opened the event by acknowledging the destruction and lives lost after Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas on August 24 and became the worst natural disaster in the country’s history.
“Before we begin, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic loss of lives and the ongoing humanitarian crisis our neighbors in the Bahamas are still experiencing after Hurricane Dorian,” he said.
“I know everyone here extends their sincerest condolences to all of the families who are enduring this terrible tragedy and FIU, our family, is doing all we can to assist in the recovery,” he added, after a brief moment of silence.
Terry Archer, consul to the Bahamas, expressed his gratitude for the outpouring of support for those affected by the storm.
“I want to thank each and every one of you who continue praying for the people of the Bahamas,’’ he said. “What we want to say is that we will bounce back, we will pick up the pieces and move on.”
Also attending were Consular Corps Secretary Nabil J. Achkar, Ambassador Volker Anding of Germany and Acting Dean of the Consular Corps of Miami, María Mérida de Mora of Guatemala.
The Consular Corps of Miami has a close partnership with FIU and in particular with the Green School, hosting and collaborating on events and activities throughout the year. In addition, the Consular Corps often provides internships and other immersive learning opportunities to FIU students.
Assistant Professor Eric Lob of the Department of Politics & International Relations gave the keynote address at the event, focused on the current state of U.S.-Iran relations and tensions that have developed between the two countries, particularly since the Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated and signed under the Obama administration in 2015.
“The fundamental framework of this multilateral agreement was that Iran would scale back or limit its nuclear program and uranium enrichment activities in exchange for sanctions relief and other economic incentives from the U.S. and the other signatories,” Lob said.
According to Lob, outside actors have recently intervened to mitigate escalating tensions between both sides, including France’s offer of a $15 billion line of credit to ease Iran’s economic difficulties.
He cautioned that, even with these positive developments, nothing concrete on the diplomatic front has occurred. Lob said Iranians should have a seat at the negotiating table in order to reduce ongoing tensions and resolve protracted conflicts in the region.
“While recent developments have been trending in a more positive direction and while one never knows what can happen in the hallways or on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting, one can only remain cautiously and guardedly optimistic for the time being,’’ he said.
“In the meantime, unless undisclosed back channel talks currently exist, the continuation of heightened tensions and the possibility of armed conflict remain real due to U.S. measures … to double down on economic warfare and military options against Iran and the way its hardliners and other elites and citizens have reacted to them during the past year.”